WASHINGTON - The Archdiocese of Washington has voluntarily released the names of 31 clergy members who they believe have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors from 1948 onward.
This comes as Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Wuerl was reportedly accused in a grand jury report released in August of helping to protect some child-molesting priests while he was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. Wuerl continues to deny the allegations.
The Archdiocese of Washington says in a statement the list was "assembled as part of a comprehensive review of the archdiocese’s archives ordered by Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2017."
All of the clergymen named by the Archdiocese have either passed away or were removed from the clergy, according to the list.
The list also includes three religious-order priests who served in temporary roles in archdiocesan parishes or schools.
Ex-Cardinal McCarrick is not on the issued list. The Archdiocese of Washington does not address what they deem as to make allegations of abuse "credible," but detail several clergymen who were removed from their posts and placed elsewhere before being removed from ministry.
There are also several ministers who were "temporarily removed," and evaluated and given "treatment" before returning to a different post.
"There is also no archdiocesan priest in active ministry who has ever been the subject of a credible allegation of abuse of a minor,” according to a statement from the Archdiocese.
The Archdiocese says they were one of the first dioceses in the country to adopt a written child protection policy, which was adopted in 1986.
A spokesperson for SNAP, a network of abuse survivors, suggests Pope Francis turn over all Vatican records on child sex crimes to secular authorities, and also demand that every cardinal and bishop post the names of all the accused clergy on diocesan websites.
Cardinal Wuerl has been in the spotlight since ex-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was forced to resign as cardinal this year over allegations he sexually abused at least two minors and adult seminarians.
Wuerl, even as he drew criticism in the grand jury report, also faced widespread skepticism over his insistence that he knew nothing about years of alleged sexual misconduct by McCarrick.
Pope Francis accepted Wuerl's offer Friday, but asked Wuerl to stay on temporarily until a replacement is found and suggested he had unfairly become a scapegoat and victim of the mounting outrage over the abuse scandal.
FOX 5 spoke David Lorenz, an abuse survivor and the Maryland director of SNAP, about the publication of the names. He told us he is happy to see the list in hopes it might help others out there, but said at least eight credible names are missing – including McCarrick.
“You compare that number – 31 – to the diocese of Pittsburgh for example, which had 99,” explained Lorenz. “They had 99 abusive priests. And they are a smaller diocese than the diocese of Washington. … There has been six investigations in six different dioceses. I’m not counting the most recent one in Pennsylvania. Everyone one of them have shown the diocese under-reported the number of abusive priests. Significantly.”