Catholic Diocese Of Baton Rouge To Release List Of All Priests Accused Of Abuse

The bishop knows that this is a very difficult decision that needed to be made.

A priest holds a crucifix while waiting for a sign of smoke in St. Peter's Square
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The bishop knows that this is a very difficult decision that needed to be made.

Later this week, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, will release a list of clergy members who have been accused of abuse. On Thursday, January 31, 2019, Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca will release the names of those who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The announcement was made in a letter from Duca which was not easy to write or read for the Catholic church.

The official website of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge released the letter which referred to Duca’s plans which were originally announced in November. It was at that time that he said he would release the names of the clergy members and the time has now come for it to happen.

“This is a difficult decision that I have made, but I am convinced that bringing more of the facts of this tragedy into the light will be a help to the victims of abuse and the beginning, I hope, of re-establishing trust where it has been lost. I hope that this list will be a help to the victims of abuse who have felt betrayed and unsupported by the unwillingness of the Church to publicly admit to the crimes of these priests and to acknowledge the depth of pain and hurt that was caused by these priests’ abusive actions.”

At the time of his announcement late last year, Duca also revealed that he had hired auditors and lawyers to go over all clergy files before the list was released. His plan was to release the list by the end of January 2019 and he is following through with that.

Each of the seven Catholic dioceses in Louisiana joined with Duca in promising that they would publish lists of priests and clergy members who were credibly accused of abuse. As of this writing, only Houma-Thibodaux and New Orleans have released their lists.

As reported by the Times-Picayune, Houma-Thibodaux’s list included 14 names. The list released by New Orleans included 57 priests and other clergy members. New Orleans’ list included eight priests who had ties to Baton Rouge.

There have not yet been dates released for when the other Diocese will reveal their lists.

Bishop Duca knows that this will not be an easy thing for anyone and everyone associated with the church, but he feels as if it needs to be done. He stated that he would “prefer we just stop talking about this and move.” The Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge feels that releasing this list of those credibly accused of abuse will help in the long run and perhaps bring peace to those that need it.