BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — A list of clergy members accused of sexual abuse against minors has been released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. The diocese describes the allegations of child abuse against the 57 priests listed as “credible.”
The diocese includes Broome, Chenango and Cortland Counties.
The list dates back to 1950. No one listed is an active member of the clergy and only 19 of the people named are still alive. In a news release, Bishop Robert Cunningham said the information will cause pain for some, but it’s necessary. Cunningham said the Church is at a critical juncture in its history.
The Bishop of Syracuse had previously refused to release the names, but changed his mind. Cunningham did not want to pass the task off to his successor, said diocesan spokeswoman Danielle Cummings.
“It became very clear to the bishop that he should be the one giving this news. That the list of names should not come from a governmental agency or should not come from media. It should come from the leader of the diocese,” said Cummings.
The release comes as the New York Attorney General investigates clergy abuse across the state. Lawsuits have also been filed against the diocese and the state legislature is considering a change the statute of limitations, so victims can report abuse long after the incident occurred.
“Are they trying to get out in front of it? Of course they are,” said Mike Reck, an attorney who represents victims. “Is that a good thing? Absolutely.”
“Every single step that can be taken to make kids safer is better,” Reck added. He called releasing the list a good step, but adds it doesn’t fully detail leadership’s role in clergy abuse.
“We know that this does not fully convey what was known, when it was known and still requires outside verification,” he said. Reck wants this new information verified by law enforcement.
In the last year, the Syracuse Diocese launched a compensation program for victims who were abused as children, but who came forward after the state’s statute of limitations had expired.