On Friday, April 26, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York released a list of 115 priests and five deacons accused of sexually abusing children from the 1950s up to the early 2000s.
According to The New York Times, this disclosure is part of a broader move by the church to name those responsible for the abuse and beg public forgiveness, though New York, home to one of America’s largest Catholic communities, has been slower than other cities to disclose the names of abusers. Along with the list, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan released his own apology letter:
“‘I write to ask forgiveness again,’” Cardinal Dolan said in a letter accompanying the list on Friday, “‘for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.’”
The New York archdiocese covers Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. It accounts for one of the largest Catholic communities in the U.S., with 2.8 million Catholics in 300 parishes with 200 schools. Nearby Newark, Hartford, and Brooklyn (which also includes Queens) have released their own lists. In Brooklyn and Queens alone, there were more than 100 priests named.
Many of the priests named on the New York list have died, others have been defrocked; 53 of the priests listed were either convicted of a crime or involved in a civil settlement. Dolan insists no one currently involved with the New York archdiocese has been accused of sexual abuse:
“Please be assured,” Cardinal Dolan said, “there is not a single priest or deacon of the Archdiocese of New York against whom there has been a credible and substantiated claim of abuse against a minor currently in ministry.”
But critics of the way Catholic leaders in New York City have handled of decades of abuse note the failure to include priests’ work histories or the names of accused clergy from other orders who worked within the community.