The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn on Friday released the names of more than 100 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a child, joining a recent torrent of disclosures from dioceses and religious orders across the country as law enforcement officials examine the church’s response to an epidemic of abuse.
The disclosure is one of the largest to come from an individual diocese, though the diocese is also among the largest in the nation, encompassing Brooklyn and Queens, an area with 1.5 million people who identify as Catholic, church officials said.
“We know this list will generate many emotions for victims who have suffered terribly,” the Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, the bishop of Brooklyn, said in a statement accompanying the disclosure. “For their suffering, I am truly sorry. I have met with many victims who have told me that more than anything, they want an acknowledgment of what was done to them. This list gives that recognition and I hope it will add another layer of healing for them on their journey toward wholeness.”
Bishop DiMarzio follows dozens of other bishops in the United States in deciding to publish the names of suspected abusers after an explosive grand jury report in Pennsylvania last summer that inflamed tensions in the church by documenting seven decades of accusations.
On Wednesday, the bishops of the five Catholic dioceses in New Jersey released the names of nearly 200 priests who have been credibly accused. And last month, the Jesuit province covering the northeastern United States identified 50 accused priests, including many who had served in the order’s schools in New York City.
Bishop DiMarzio said last year that the diocese would release the names of priests who faced credible accusations.
Forty-one of the named clergy members died or resigned before the accusations were found credible, the diocese said, and nearly two-thirds of the priests named have died. Two of the 108 clergy members named were deacons.
With the disclosure, the diocese included a graph showing that cases of suspected abuse peaked in the 1960s and 1970s; many of the allegations were reported after 2002. Since then, when the diocese instituted what it described as a zero-tolerance policy permanently removing credibly accused priests from ministry, there have been two credible cases.
In 2017, the Diocese of Brooklyn named eight former priests who were defrocked for child sexual abuse offenses. Those priests were also included in the most recent disclosure.
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