A total of 31 clerics. None in the active priesthood. Eighteen have been arrested in the past and 13 were never arrested. Seventeen have already passed away. All of them have been "truthfully accused" of sexually abusing minors for decades.
Four days after Pope Francis will accept the resignation of the archbishop of Washington DC, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, 77 years old, accused of covering up a scandal of massive abuse of minors, the archdiocese of the US capital has published a list with the names of 31 members of the clergy "truthfully implicated" in abuses between 1948 and 1996.
The list is included in a letter, addressed to the clergy, which highlights that "there has been no incident of child abuse by a priest of the archdiocese in almost two decades," but calls for "a necessary step forward toward total transparency and accountability in the process of healing wounds. "
Of the priests not arrested in their day, five were listed in public access databases of accused priests. Six of the names had not been published before. The letter does not specify how many children were abused, nor if all the cases were referred to the civil authorities.
Publication of the list occurs in a convulsive moment in the archdiocese. An exhaustive investigation of a Pennsylvania grand jury, documented in a 900 page report dated July 27, detailed the crimes of more than 300 "predatory cures", many of which were under the supervision of Wuerl, who was forced to submit his resignation last Friday.
The report accused the Archbishop of Washington of having moved abusive priests from one parish to another, without informing local authorities. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called Wuerl's conduct "absolutely abhorrent." Wuerl refers to the published list, in statements made in a press release, as "a painful reminder of the grave sins committed by the clergy, the pain inflicted on innocent youth, and the damage done to the faithful of the Church, who continue asking for forgiveness. "
In June, Wuerl's predecessor, Theodore McCarrick, also resigned, in this case after having been subject to accusations of abuse. It also came to light that two dioceses in New Jersey reached compromises with priests who accused McCarrick of abusing them in the seminary. The name of McCarrick is not on the list, because the alleged abuses would have occurred outside the diocese of Washington.
The report of abuses of the grand jury of POensilvania, according to published The Washington Post, gave rise to 1,272 calls to a telephone line to report abuses of cures. The same line had received 300 complaints in the two previous years. At least six states have announced that they will carry out investigations to local dioceses and the episcopal conference has admitted that it is necessary to facilitate the denunciations of presumed victims and the imposition of punishments on clerics.