The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge Thursday released a list of clergy that it says are "credibly accused" of sexually abusing a minor or minors.
“When I committed myself and the Diocese to this task soon after my arrival, my first concern was and has been for the persons victimized by this abuse who have often felt betrayed and unsupported by the Church," Bishop Michael Duda said in a press release. "It has been my hope that this will be an important step that will help those men and women whose lives have been so deeply violated. I have also hoped that this will give a sense of the scope of the allegations in this Diocese. My prayer is that this list will be a sign of a new level of transparency and openness in the way we respond to allegations of abuse and care for the victims."
The list includes 37 names, going back to 1961 when the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge was formed, and also includes names of credibly accused from before 1961 within the territory that would become the Diocese of Baton Rouge.
“Some have asked why must we do this. As I said in my Sunday letter, the fact that this wound will not heal tells us that we must continue to bring everything into the light," Duda said. "This is not easy. I have listened to some victims share their stories, and there are no words to express the depth of sadness and shame that was experienced in our Church and is part of OUR diocesan history. It is hard to lay this list out for all to see, but real renewal and healing cannot take place until we acknowledge the truth of our past."
The Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux have also released similar lists.
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