The Catholic diocese in San Jose, California, on Thursday released the names of 15 former priests who were credibly accused of sexual abuse with children.
Of the 15 priests, 10 have died and the others have been banned from the ministry.
“I express my deepest apologies for the actions of those who were in positions of authority and who violated that sacred trust by abusing children,” Bishop Patrick McGrath said. “The sexual abuse of children and young people is an appalling crime and a sin. When these perpetrators are members of the clergy, there are not only psychological wounds but spiritual wounds.”
More offenders could be added to the list, the diocese said. An outside management firm will conduct an investigation in November into how the church handled allegations of sexual abuse and will review personnel files.
The announcement comes 10 days after the Diocese of San Bernardino released a list containing 34 names.
San Jose’s list included a now dead priest who came to the diocese – which was part of the diocese of San Francisco until 1981 – about 70 years ago. That priest was accused of sexual misconduct with children in the 1970s, was reported in 2002 and banned that year.
That was at a time when there was another massive sexual abuse scandal and when the US Catholic Bishops Conference tightened some of its abuse-reporting policies.
Another former priest on the list was reported again this year. He had been banned in 1988 after first being reported.
According to the list, most of the allegations involved abuse in the 1960s, ’70s or ‘80s, with some in later decades.
“There can no longer be a culture of secrecy in the church, but one of transparency and accountability,” McGrath said Thursday. “Our work will not be complete until all of those who have been harmed have received assistance in healing and until the evil of child sexual abuse has been eradicated from society.”
McGrath said all clergy members now undergo background checks and training every three years to prevent sexual abuse of children.
The diocese says on its website it has paid $20,000 in settlements related to sexual abuse of children by clergy.
The church defines a “credible allegation” as one that a priest has admitted to, one that involves a criminal conviction, or one deemed credible by an oversight board.