Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal Grows, as Brooklyn Diocese Releases Names of 100+ Accused Priests

Published on February 19, 2019 by Sandy Liebhard

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn has released the names of more than 100 priests  “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

The list, published just one day after the New York Child Victims Act became law, stands as the largest disclosure so far in a clergy sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades.

Clergy Sexual Abuse Disclosure Spans Brooklyn Diocese’s Entire 166-Year History

The Brooklyn Diocese is the second-largest in the nation, and encompasses approximately 1.5 million people who identify as Roman Catholic in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

The February 15th disclosure identifies 106 priests and two deacons accused of molesting children over the diocese’s entire 166-year history.  Monsignor John Cross, ordained in 1916, is the earliest accused clergy included on the list.

Most of the identified priests served in neighborhood parishes, while others taught at Catholic Schools throughout Brooklyn and Queens, including Cathedral Preparatory, Christ the King, St. Francis Preparatory and Archbishop Molloy high school.

“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.”

Brooklyn Clergy Sexual Abuse Disclosure Omits Vital Details

In general, advocates for clergy sexual abuse victims welcomed the disclosure.

But because the Brooklyn Diocese maintained sole discretion in choosing which clergy to name and what other information to disclose, many were skeptical about its willingness to be truly transparent.

Notably, the list omits start and end dates for a priest’s service at a parish. It also fails to detail the specific nature of allegations, making it impossible to ascertain if a clergy member had more than one accuser.

Finally, a priest was only considered credibly accused if he actually confessed to abusing a child.

“There were some names I did not think they would ever release that they did on this list, so it is better than I expected,” Sister Sally Butler, a Dominican told The New York Times. “There are some missing names on this list that have me wondering. I think some people are still being protected.”

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