Lawyers release the names of 212 alleged priest sex offenders in Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - As dioceses around the country are disclosing names of priests accused of misconduct, a law firm on Tuesday released a report containing the names of 212 Catholic Clergy members accused of sexual misconduct in the Bay Area.
The report, compiled by lawyers from Jeff Anderson and Associates based in St. Paul, Minn., accuses 135 offenders from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, 95 from the Diocese of Oakland and 33 from the Diocese of San Jose. A total of 111 of these priests are dead or thought to be dead.
It was initially reported that there were 263 names on the list but 51 of those names were duplicates, because some of the priests served in multiple diocese.
So why release the names? Because it's important to let other survivors know that they weren't alone, said Tom Emens, a sex abuse survivor, at a news conference in San Francisco.
"This is the hardest thing I've ever done," Emens said. "But it's also the most necessary. I'm an empowered survivor. What happened to me should never happen to any child." He said he was coming forward so that there "wouldn't be any more secrets." He said he was sure that after the release of the report and the lawsuit, there would likely be dozens of people to share stories of abuse.
Anderson and his team are seeking to compel Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco, Bishop Patrick McGrath in San Jose and Bishop Michael Barber in Oakland to release the names of all clergy accused of sexual misconduct in all three dioceses and request the federal court to release files that show the participation and complicity of top church officials in the handling of clergy sexual abuse cases. There are at least 101 priests who are alive, but whose whereabouts are not immediately known to the public, the lawyers said.
KTVU reached out to all the dioceses on Tuesday. Oakland Diocese spokeswoman Helen Osman said in an email that Barber announced earlier this month that he would release a full list of credibly accused clergy within 45 days. "We have nothing to hide," Barber said at the time.
Mike Brown, a spokesman for the San Francisco Archdiocese, said church leaders will review the list of names "even though we are very uncertain how his list was assembled and with what criteria. This will take a bit of time." In the meantime, Brown said, "Cordileone continues to meet with his parishioners throughout the Archdiocese and many other consultors, to hear their overall concerns about this crisis in the church and to decide on a course of action for the Archdiocese."
Anderson took specific aim at the San Francisco Archdiocese though, saying that church leaders have released "zero" names of clergy accused of sexual misconduct, despite the numbers that his team found.
The Diocese of San Jose released a statement that said, "it is heart-breaking to see the list of so many who have betrayed and abused innocent children in these horrific ways... Diocese of San Jose remains resolute in our commitment to provide healing and reconciliation for the victims/survivors. This will allow us to begin the process of restoring trust that has been painfully eroded by those in positions of leadership and trust by being accountable and transparent for what has happened in the past within the Diocese of San Jose."
Following Oakland's announcement, McGrath in San Jose on Oct. 19 released the names of 15 priests who were found to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children within the diocese.
On Tuesday, however, Anderson, who first started suing priests in California in 1993 for abuse in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego dioceses, said the San Jose number is "seriously deficient," as he and his team found double that number.
In San Jose, the diocese said 10 of the 15 are dead and the remaining were permanently banned from the ministry. Eight of the 15 had already been identified publicly through court cases and news reports.
At the time, McGrath said the sexual abuse of children and young people is a sin.
Anderson acknowledged that many cases have been settled or not fully evaluated in civil court. Therefore, they wrote that "the allegations should be considered just allegations and should not be considered proved or substantiated in a court of law." They further described how they compiled the names from media reports, the priest abuse database on BishipAccountability.org, the dioceses' public statements and other sources.
Dioceses across California and the U.S. have been disclosing names as part of an effort by church leaders to reassure parishioners following a stunning August report by Pennsylvania authorities.
The report detailed extensive efforts to cover up decades of abuse involving clergy and children.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.