W.Va. Catholic Church Set to Release Names of 'Credibly Accused' Priests
The Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announced intentions today to release names of all priests that have been “credibly accused” of child abuse in West Virginia.
The press release says in an effort to build back trust in the church, the diocese is releasing all of the names they’ve been made aware of since 1950, along with a list of the accused priests’ assignments during their tenure with the church.
The action is led by Archbishop William Lori, from Baltimore. Lori was named Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese in September just after former Bishop Michael Bransfield retired from his post amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
“The trust of the people has been badly damaged,” Archbishop William Lori wrote. “Disclosing the names of all those credibly accused of abuse is a critical step toward repairing that broken trust. I pray this will lead toward healing and demonstrate the Diocese’s firm commitment to transparency and accountability.”
The release says none of the named are currently in active ministry.
Church officials are investigating all files and preparing a list that will be released once it has been reviewed by an “independent Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board.”
The Diocese is also encouraging anyone victims of abuse by any member of the Church to contact civil authorities or the Office of Safe Environment at (304) 233-0880.