WHEELING, W.VA.—Archbishop William E. Lori, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, announced today that the Diocese will release the names of all priests, deacons and religious credibly accused of child sexual abuse aware since 1950, the period in which it still has records. The release will include a list of the accused priests’ assignments during their tenure in the Diocese. None of the individuals who will be listed are currently in active ministry.
“The trust of the people has been badly damaged. Disclosing the names of all those credibly accused of abuse is a critical step toward repairing that broken trust,” Archbishop Lori said. “I pray this will lead toward healing and demonstrate the Diocese’s firm commitment to transparency and accountability.”
Archbishop Lori has directed Bryan Minor, Delegate of Administrative Affairs for the Diocese, to oversee the process of reviewing files in preparation for the disclosure.
“We have begun the review of all available files and will create a list that is as comprehensive as possible,” Minor said. “For the sake of transparency and openness, we will release the list as soon as the preparatory work is complete and after it has been reviewed and confirmed by our independent Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board.”
Minor said that it is important to remember the victims of sexual abuse in prayer, particularly those harmed by those in the Church. “We ask all West Virginians to join the faithful of the Diocese and remember in prayer all those who have been affected by sexual abuse,” he said.
When its list is published, Minor said that the Diocese will continue to support victims. “The Diocese has a longstanding Victim Outreach program, and we will continue to make those services available to our local Church.”
“The Diocese has fully implemented the standards that were set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the protection of children and young people in 2002. Since that time, the Diocese has remained fully compliant with those standards and are audited yearly to ensure their implementation.
“As of 2017, more than 7,800 children and youth received awareness training coordinated by the Diocese, and more than 109 priests, along with deacons and seminarians, are in compliance with Safe Environment protocol and received ongoing awareness education,” Minor added.
Nearly 7,000 employees and volunteers statewide are in compliance with Safe Environment protocol, including Catholic school principals and teachers, and volunteers in parishes, schools and charitable agencies. “This is made possible by 150 local level Safe Environment coordinators who secure a proper learning and worship environment for young people to belong to or visit our facilities, programs and Churches. They are the front line in our battle to eliminate threats to children and youth.”
The Diocese encourages anyone who may be the victim of abuse by any member of the Church to contact civil authorities or the Office of Safe Environment at (304) 233-0880.