The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland announced Friday that is has added 22 new names to a list of priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a child.
“The new names of diocesan clerics were added after the diocese concluded, based on the evidence available to it, that the allegations were more likely than not to be true,” the diocese said in a press release. “In compiling this updated information, the diocese reviewed all known allegations regardless of how old the allegations were or whether the cleric was alive or deceased.”
Many of the accused priests are already deceased, but several are still living and have either been “permanently removed from ministry” or “removed from clerical state.”
Two of the priests added to the list Friday, James McGonegal and Anthony Schuerger, were placed on “administrative leave” pending further investigation of the allegations against them.
The full list, which can be viewed here, now contains the names of 50 priests and one deacon credibly accused of sexual abuse. Most of the accused priests were ordained to the priesthood in the 1960s or 1970s, and none were ordained after 1990.
Cleveland Bishop Nelson Perez said he was “profoundly sorry” for the “deep pain” caused by the situation in a letter to Catholics in the area.
“While the addition of new names to this list is certainly an occasion of profound sadness, inasmuch as it reminds us of the great harm experienced as a result of sexual abuse, I pray that is also may be an occasion for healing and a step towards restoring trust in the Church,” he said.
Perez announced that the Diocese of Cleveland will begin offering support groups “guided by experienced facilitators” for the abused. He also noted that any allegation of child sexual abuse is reported directly to civil authorities.
“Once again, I express my deepest sorrow and offer apologies on behalf of the Church for the harm done to those most vulnerable,” he concluded. “Let us continue to hope in the Lord who can heal us from the effects of even the greatest wound and who, through his own Passion and death, joins us in our pain and makes all things new.”
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