Crime & Courts

Catholic church of SC to release names of clergy who sexually abused children

The Diocese of Charleston, the governing body of all of South Carolina’s Catholic churches, will release the names of all priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors since 1950.

On Friday, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, head of the Charleston diocese, made the announcement, saying he plans to release the list by mid-February 2019.

“We are committed to transparency,” Guglielmone said in a statement. “Releasing the names of those credibly accused is another step in the healing process for all who have been harmed by priests.”

Since the 1960s the Diocese of Charleston has received allegations against 24 priest, according to a Post and Courier report. Twelve were removed from the ministry.

As part of a 2007 settlement, the Diocese undertook an extensive review of priest personnel and other relevant files, the church’s statement said. That review was shared with law enforcement. Currently, the diocese is reviewing priest personnel files from 2007 through the present and, once completed, the entire list of names of those priest found to have abused children will be released.

The Charleston diocese settled for $12 million the 2007 civil suit that accusedpriests and employees of the South Carolina Catholic church of sexually abusing children, The State reported. Before the settlement, the church had already paid out $2 million to victims of abuse.

Speaking with the Post and Courier, David Clohessy, director of the St. Louis Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the Diocese of Charleston’s set release of name’s is belated and a grudging step.

“We believe (the list) should include nuns, brothers, seminarians, bishops and lay (people),” Clohessy said. “We hope it includes photos and current or last-known whereabouts. If the goal is to protect kids, that information is crucial.”

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.