The Diocese of Columbus released its long-awaited list of clergy credibly accused of abusing a minor Friday.
In a letter issued by Bishop Frederick F. Campbell, the diocese exposed the names of 35 clergy members with ordinations to the priesthood or diaconate dating as far back as the 1930s. Several of the accused are already deceased, but many of them were removed from ministry and are still alive.
“I share with the faithful of our diocese sorrow, sadness, and anger over such behavior. I apologize to all victims and their families. The Diocese of Columbus is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all children and youth, and I am hopeful that the release of this information will help restore the confidence of all faithful in the Church and its clergy,” Campbell said in his letter.
According to Campbell, the list was compiled after diocesan staff reviewed the files after nearly 2,000 clergy members dating all the way back to 1868. The diocese counted as a “credible allegation” any that was “more likely than not to be true” after review of the available information.
“Factors considered in making this determination included the details provided by the accuser; corroborating evidence; sincerity; circumstances; and reputations of the accuser and the accused; the accused clergy’s history (including any previous difficulties, suspicions or, in the case of previously accused clergy, allegations); and, if applicable, the accused’s admission of wrongdoing,” the list elaborates.
The list was broken down into five categories based on where the clergy member was ordained, whether or not the clergy member was deceased, and where the allegation occurred.
The most recent allegation dates back to 2008 and was leveled against Deacon Gabriel Hernandez, who was ordained outside of the Diocese of Columbus. Like many, he was dismissed from his role and later “laicized.”
“I want to thank everyone at all levels who dedicate themselves to assuring the safety of our children and young people,” Campbell concluded his letter. “As we move forward together into the future, let us all be strengthened by our loving Lord in the continuing work of assuring safe environments for all children and young people.”
The full list of names can be read here.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “St. Joseph Catholic Church” by Nheyob. CC BY-SA 3.0.