Catholic Diocese Releases Names Of 71 Church Members Accused Of Child Sex Abuse
The Diocese of Harrisburg, one of the six under investigation in an upcoming Pennsylvania grand-jury report on clergy abuse, released a list of 71 priests and church members “credibly accused” of child sexual abuse.

The Roman Catholic diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has released on Wednesday a list of 71 priests and other members of the church who had been accused of child sex abuse since the 1940s, announcing their names will be stripped from all church properties.

The report included “37 priests, three deacons, six seminarians, nine from other diocese and 16 members of religious communities,” who would be removed from “any position of honor”, the diocese said in a statement, noting that the conduct was classified as indecent behavior, inappropriate behavior such as kissing and inappropriate communication with children.

It comes roughly a week before the expected release of an 884-page grand-jury report on widespread sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in six dioceses spanning much of Pennsylvania. The Harrisburg Diocese is one of the six that were investigated.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last week a version with some names blacked out can be made public as early as next week. The court said it identified more than 300 “predator priests” in the six dioceses so far.

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“Many of those victimized as children continue to suffer as survivors from the harm they experienced,” Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer said at a news conference to detail the church’s actions.

“In my own name, and in the name of the Diocesan Church of Harrisburg, I express our profound sorrow and apologise to the survivors of child sex abuse, the Catholic faithful and the general public for the abuses that took place and for those Church officials who failed to protect children,” the bishop said in a statement.

He also announced sweeping changes to confidentiality policies and said the names of those accused of such crimes since 1947, would be removed from any place of honor in the diocese.

“The decision to remove the names of bishops and clerics may prove controversial, but as bishop, I strongly believe the leaders of the diocese hold themselves to a higher standard and must yield honorary symbols in the interest of healing,” the bishop added.

The Roman Catholic Church is dealing with accusations of sexual abuse in other parts of the United States.

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