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San Diego Diocese Plans To Publish Names Of Accused Priests Following Pennsylvania Priest Report

The San Diego Diocesan Pastoral Center, headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church in the San Diego Diocese is shown Tuesday, February 27, 2007.
Associated Press
The San Diego Diocesan Pastoral Center, headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church in the San Diego Diocese is shown Tuesday, February 27, 2007.
San Diego Diocese Plans To Publish Names Of Accused Priests Following Pennsylvania Priest Report
San Diego Diocese Plans to Publish Names of Accused Priests Following Pennsylvania Priest Report GUEST:Polly Stryker, producer, The California Report

I'm Jane Heinzman in for marine Kabanov. It's Friday September 7th. San Diego's Roman Catholic Diocese plans to publish the identities of previously unnamed priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with the child. The California Report has confirmed the diocese is conducting an internal investigation going back 50 years. This news comes as six state attorney generals across the U.S. are conducting new investigations of sexual abuse committed by Catholic clergy. All of this of course is following the publication of a Pennsylvania grand jury report naming hundreds of priests who abused more than 1000 children in that state. Joining me is Polly Streicher with KQED The California Report. She's been following this story. Holly the list of priest goes back 50 years. You uncovered the release of this list. What prompted that. I was curious because I had read about the Pennsylvania grand jury report. Like everyone in the had read about it in the press. And I called around in California called the L.A. Archdiocese and then I was I went to the Catholic Conference in California asking where our diocese in California going to do a historical review of their records as well because the one in Pennsylvania went back 70 years. And I ended up talking to a spokesman and he said actually the San Diego diocese is currently conducting a review of its archive and its records. And I said really and they are going back more than 50 years looking for names of priests that the diocese itself deemed to have credible accusations of sexual misconduct against minors. But these are names that have not been before been published and they were not part of lawsuits that were settled in 2007 there were some major lawsuits in California. And I expected that they might be published I was told they might be published today Friday. But when I talked to the spokesman for the San Diego diocese he said actually he had a list with more names on it that had to be reviewed. And so the list will be published on the diocese Web site next week sometime. And why did the diocese say they want to release this list now. Well so I said I said why are you doing this now. And he said it's because people like you were calling this how the media is calling and I think they recognize they're trying to get ahead of the issue is what I think as well. They recognize that this is happening around the country. I mean look at what happened in New York in New Jersey where attorneys general have subpoenaed dioceses for documents for information. There is a movement to shine light into the church archives because lawsuits have happened but those are only when people have sued. Right. So that's only when somebody took the step of actually filing a lawsuit. Those are the ones we know about. But there are deep files every diocese has personnel records and they do investigate complaints. They have personnel files in their archives and but they haven't shared them. And many of them haven't reviewed them. And so it's I think a process that's starting and it's certainly happening in the San Diego diocese and possibly you know I've asked it will it happen in other dioceses in California there are 12 total. And you know we're waiting to hear back on that they couldn't confirm that at this time. How extensive do you think this list will be will it tell us what parish these priests were at. What do you think. Initially I was told by the spokesman that it was just a handful of priests and like maybe half a dozen and that mostly they would be deceased because this is going back in time. But when I called yesterday and found that there might be more names they couldn't release those names because he said well we don't have a complete list. I can't tell you I said How many more and he said I don't know. But what the list will include will be the names the status of the person. Are they deceased or are they living or are they retired and the parishes where they served in as you said many of these priests are in fact deceased. You spoke to someone about why it's important that these names are released. What did they have to say. So I spoke with Terence McKiernan who is the founder of a Web site it's a watchdog group an online archive Web site called Bishop Accountability dot org and they have names of all the priests that they know about in the country who've had credible accusations of sexual misconduct with minors brought against them. And he told me I said look you know dead priests. What kind of justice is that. And here's what here's what turns McKiernan said. It's easy to say since the priest is no longer with us the allegation really doesn't deserve to be made public but that's a very very hard way to go from a point of view of the survivors involved. And you know this list follows the San Diego diocese paying 200 million to settle claims of sexual abuse in 2007. Remind us about that. So in 2002 California basically took a time out on the statute of limitations gave people a year time out on the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse because there is a statute limitations and if you know somebody it happened many years ago report it. But in that one year window between 2002 and 2003 hundreds of people filed suit against every diocese in California and eventually by 2007 there were three major lawsuits and they were settled for over a billion dollars. I know you will continue following this as we await that list next week. I've been speaking with Polly Stryker of KQED the California Report. Thanks so much for joining us Polly. My pleasure.

The shocking investigation into clergy abuse in Pennsylvania has led states and dioceses around the country to once again confront the extent of sex abuse in their own ranks. In California, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has confirmed that it is conducting an internal file review going back more than 50 years.

After the Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed instances of sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, Kevin Eckery, spokesman for the San Diego diocese, sais it plans to publish a handful of names of priests that have not before been made public on the dioceses' web site.

The review is looking for names of priests — not yet made public — who have faced accusations of sexual misconduct with a minor, deemed credible by the San Diego diocese.


The list will include the names, status (e.g., retired) and the parishes where the priests served. These names will be in addition to the 60 names already made public from the San Diego diocese on the online internet archive and watchdog group

In 2002, California changed the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse by priests. In the one year the change was in effect, hundreds of plaintiffs filed suit, eventually costing the Catholic Church in California more than $1 billion in settlements.

Some of the larger payments included from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which agreed to pay $660 million to settle claims of sexual abuse in 2007. That same year, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego agreed to pay nearly $200 million to settle similar lawsuits.

Eckery said the San Diego diocese is conducting the review because of media pressure. Eckery said most of the names to be published soon will likely be of priests who are now deceased. He adds that there are no priests currently in the San Diego ministry with active complaints against them.

He wouldn't comment on whether he knows if any other California diocese will also be conducting file reviews.