OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Calling it an “act of contrition on the behalf of my church,” the bishop of the Diocese of Oakland on Monday released the names of priests, deacons and religious brothers it has determined to be credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.
The list includes 20 priests of the Oakland Diocese; 22 priests, deacons and brothers from 10 religious orders; and three priests who are from other dioceses but worked or lived in the Oakland Diocese.
“Today’s list is just one milestone in our efforts to investigate past abuses and bring justice to survivors,” said diocesan Chancellor Steve Wilcox, appointed by Bishop Michael Barber to review files and compilation of names. “We want parents and families to know schools and parishes in the Oakland Diocese will always be safe, healthy and holy places for our children.”
Bishop Barber added that it was a ‘living list’ and said other names may be added as credible abuse cases are uncovered. He added that the list was published as an “act of contrition” and an attempt to bring comfort to survivors of clergy abuse.
“I hope this will help bring healing to those who have suffered. I renew our offer of counseling, therapy, support and outreach to survivors,“ he said in a news release.
The Diocese requires anyone who works with minors in the diocese – whether clergy, lay employees or volunteers – to undergo a criminal record check and to receive training in recognizing predatory behavior and how to ensure safe environments for children.
“Everyone is required to undergo training every three years; more than 33,000 individuals have received this training in the past three years,” the bishop said.
The Diocese said there has been no credible incident of abuse of a minor by a priest or deacon of the Diocese of Oakland since 1988 among its more than 120 priests.
In a letter to his parishioners, Bishop Barber said he has “seen and heard” the pain of those abused.
“I have met with survivors personally,” he said in the letter. “I have seen and heard their pain. I have witnessed the damage abusers have committed. A priest is supposed to be a man who leads people to God. But, like some physicians who use their skills to take away life through abortion or assisted suicide, so some priests have used their position of trust to take away faith and destroy a child’s innocence. This is so very wrong.”
Anyone with information concerning an allegation of sexual misconduct by a clergy member or any diocesan employee should contact the local authority, i.e. police or sheriff department and the chancellor for the Diocese of Oakland, Mr. Stephen Wilcox, firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-267-8334.
The Diocese of Oakland serves two counties in the East Bay region, Alameda and Contra Costa, and includes approximately 500,000 Catholics in 84 parishes.