Cardinal Dolan, in a pastoral letter to the faithful of the archdiocese dated April 26, announced his decision to publish a comprehensive list of all archdiocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors or the subject of a claim made to the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program determined to be eligible for compensation.
That list, which contains 120 names, is now public at archny.org/letter. Along with the names of those clergy members, the list includes their dates of ordination and current status. The list includes clergy who have been credibly accused of possessing child pornography.
“Please be assured 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,” the cardinal said in the letter.
“As we continue the Easter season, and affirm once again the central reality of our faith—that the Lord through His Cross has brought us to the new life in the Resurrection—we live as people of hope in the face of all the evil and sin we find in our world, and sad to say, even in our Church,” the cardinal said.
“I write today as someone who himself realizes the shame that has come upon our Church due to the sexual abuse of minors. I write to ask forgiveness again 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.
“More specifically,” the cardinal said, “I write today…after hearing from many victim-survivors, many of you, and many priests…”
The list includes archdiocesan clergy, which consists of bishops, priests and deacons who were incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York. It does not include priests belonging to religious orders or institutes, many of which have already released their own lists of accused priests, or “extern” priests who were ordained in other dioceses.
Approximately three-quarters of credibly accused clergy were ordained between 1908 and 1969. Most were ordained in the 1950s and 1960s.
The list is accurate to the best of current archdiocesan officials’ knowledge, as of April 26. The archdiocese intends to update the list if additional information is discovered or brought to its attention, or if additional allegations of sexual abuse of a minor are determined to be credible. In the event that any changes are made to the list, the revised, modified or updated list will be posted on the archdiocesan website.
The archdiocese has taken numerous steps to strengthen and enhance its procedures “to ensure that our children are protected and to comply with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002,” said the cardinal, who cited key points of those procedures.
He said the measures have been effective, both to respond to victim-survivors with compassion and to prevent, as much as possible, incidents of abuse from occurring in the future.
“Still,” the cardinal said, “we must continue to be vigilant to make certain that the failings of the past are not repeated. I pledge again today that I will do all in my power to ensure the safety of our young people, and to react with sympathy, understanding and respect towards those who come forward with an allegation of abuse.
Among other highlights of the report that accompanied the cardinal’s letter: No archdiocesan clergy in the Archdiocese of New York ordained since the Charter’s adoption in June 2002 have been the subject of a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Since the charter’s adoption in June 2002, there have occurred two cases of sexual abuse of minors involving active archdiocesan clergy that have been determined to be credible. Both cases were handled by law enforcement, referred to the archdiocesan Review Board and resulted in the priest being removed from ministry.
Cardinal Dolan urged anyone who has an allegation of abuse of a minor “to go immediately to the district attorney to report it. If the allegation concerns a priest or deacon of the archdiocese, I urge you to contact the archdiocese’s victims assistance coordinator as well, so that we might offer you pastoral support and invite you to participate in the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.”
The victims assistance coordinator, Sister Eileen Clifford, O.P., may be reached at (646) 794-2949 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or a report may be made via the website www.archny.org/report-a-complaint.
“Please join me in praying that this outreach helps bring peace and consolation to victim-survivors and their families who have experienced the horror of abuse,” the cardinal said.
Jesus, risen from the dead, “shatters the darkness of evil and death and brings us to new life,” the cardinal concluded. “It is my heartfelt prayer that together we as a family of faith may be healed and so bring the light of the Resurrection to the darkness of our world.”