In the years since the Catholic Church began releasing the names of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse, one thing it hasn’t done is create any sort of database where people can look up names, cities, or dioceses. Why bother? That might make it easier for people to find out how the Church has ruined their lives.
ProPublica has collected the 178 lists released by U.S. dioceses and religious orders as of Jan. 20 and created a searchable database that allows users to look up clergy members by name, diocese or parish. This represents the first comprehensive picture of the information released publicly by bishops around the country. Some names appear multiple times. In many cases, that accounts for priests who were accused in more than one location. In other instances, dioceses have acknowledged when priests who served in their jurisdiction have been reported for abuse elsewhere.
They’re not kidding about that last sentence. Some names appeared on as many as eight lists.
The site makes clear that 41 dioceses (serving more than 9 million people) haven’t released any public information, and that data is therefore not available. So this is hardly full transparency. But it may be as close as we’re ever going to get, at least for now.
It’s hard to think about the scope of the horror at this point. But remember that even one priest committing these crimes would be devastating. This compilation includes literally thousands of names of people who used their powerful positions within the Church to take advantage of children, ruining countless lives in the process.
(Image via Shutterstock)