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LI diocese declines to release list of priests accused of sexually abusing children

The diocese may change its stance but believes that while investigations are ongoing it is premature to release the names, a church spokesman says.

St. Agnes Cathedral is the seat of the

St. Agnes Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Diocese of Rockville Centre will not release a list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children although it may do so in the future, church officials said Monday.

The decision is in contrast with those of the Archdiocese of New York and other dioceses around the country which have published such lists.

“At this time, the diocese believes that while the investigations of claims and allegations are ongoing, it is premature to release a list of accused clergy,” though it remains under consideration, said Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

He added that “not a single priest or deacon of this diocese is currently in ministry who has been the subject of a credible and substantiated claim of abuse against a minor,” and that the diocese turns over to law enforcement any allegations of sexual abuse against minors by clergy.

Lawyers for sex abuse victims criticized the decision not to release the list.

“That choice is a continuation of the conspiracy of silence that that diocese and its officials including the bishops … have been perpetuating for decades,” said Michael Reck, a Manhattan-based attorney who represents clergy sex abuse victims in the diocese.

“It flies in the face of the child protection movement and it fails to provide any healing for the survivors who have already been hurt and does nothing to protect children today,” Reck said.

On Friday, the Archdiocese of New York identified 115 priests and five deacons who had been accused of sexually abusing children. It was one of the largest disclosures to date by the church. It added to the hundreds of other names divulged by dioceses and religious orders across the country in recent months as the church wrestles with a sex abuse scandal that continues to roil Catholics.

Many of the priests named by the archdiocese served years or decades ago, and are defrocked or dead. The majority of the abuse took place between the 1950s and the 1990s.

Dioceses in Brooklyn, Newark and Hartford, along with the Jesuit province that includes New York, also have released similar lists.

Dolan said law enforcement authorities “have the names of all clergy known to the diocese who have been accused of sexual abuse of minors.”

The diocese “remains vigilant in its protection of all minors,” he said.

He noted that the diocese has implemented an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program “to offer the opportunity for some measure of healing and justice to those who were abused by diocesan clergy.”

Under the program, people sexually abused by clergy in the diocese receive financial compensation if they agree not to sue the diocese.

Many dioceses and orders began releasing the names of suspected abusers after a grand jury report released last summer detailed decades of allegations in the Catholic church in Pennsylvania.

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