PHOENIX — The names of more than 100 clerics accused of abuse in the Diocese of Phoenix were released Wednesday.
A group of lawyers, victims, and advocates held a joint press conference in downtown Phoenix to share the report in hopes of ‘bringing out of the dark’ information that they claim has not been thoroughly provided by the Catholic diocese.
At the press conference, they released a report containing 109 identities, histories, photos and information of those accused of child sexual abuse.
“We look at each of these names, 100 names and we could see 10, 20, 100 children that are abused by each one of those that means that so many people are being harmed and as long as this information is buried, then our communities are not safe,” said Tim Lennon, an abuse survivor.
“We also know that there are so many more clerical offenders out there that have been accused and or abused that are yet to be revealed so this part of a process in which there can now be accountability and transparency and this is just our best efforts to engage in more transparency than what the catholic diocese has chosen to do,” said Jeff Anderson, the lead lawyer in the efforts to hold the diocese accountable.
For the full report released Wednesday, CLICK HERE.
According to those who compiled the report, more than half of those named have passed away and another 25 priests' whereabouts are unknown.
In a statement, church leaders in Phoenix say the names the group released had previously been disclosed by the diocese or other branches within the Catholic church.
"We are reviewing the report released today at the press conference with survivors of sexual abuse. The report appears to contain names currently published on our website, as well as those previously published by other dioceses and religious orders," the statement said. "Today’s report does not identify any clergy accused of sexual abuse who are in active ministry in the Diocese of Phoenix."
The Phoenix diocese has publicly released a list of 43 names of clergy who have been "credibly accused" of abuse since the diocese was formed in 1969 and removes them from their clerical duties. Priests accused before that year are disclosed by the Tucson and Gallup, New Mexico, dioceses, which oversaw parts of the region before the new diocese was created.
The diocese also laid out the actions it has taken to stop abuse, including listing those credibly accused of abuse on its website , removing them from their ministry, training 30,000 priests, employees and volunteers a year on spotting and reporting sex abuse, and setting up an outside review board to review accusations against priests.
Late last year, the organization which oversees the placement of clergy at Jesuit institutions in 12 states, including Arizona, released its list of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct.
Legislation was passed in Arizona earlier this year to extend the age limit for victims to bring forward claims of sexual abuse. The new law, signed in May, gives victims until their 30th birthday to sue, and victims who have missed the cutoff have a one-time window until 2020 to file.