WASHINGTON (AP) — Days after Washington’s archbishop resigned over his handling of sexual abuse allegations, the Archdiocese of Washington released the names of more than two dozen clergy members it says have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors.
The revelation comes just four days after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl and while the Washington Archdiocese is still reeling from recent revelations that Wuerl’s predecessor as archbishop had a decades-long string of abuse allegations.
The archdiocese posted the list of priests on its website late Monday. It names 28 clergy members and three priests who were part of religious orders, but served in Washington parishes or schools. Most of the cases date back multiple decades and only three of the alleged abuses took place after 2000. Of the 31 men listed, 16 are dead.
The list includes several priests who were accused of abuse and convicted, and some who were accused, “treated” and returned to work only to be accused again. Some were removed from their clerical positions or the ministry at some point.
The controversy that forced Wuerl’s resignation does not actually cover his time in Washington; it centers on a Pennsylvania grand jury report accusing him of covering up multiple sexual abuse allegations and shuffling pedophile priests through different parishes, during his 18-year tenure as a bishop in Pittsburgh.
In a “Letter to the Faithful” released last week, Wuerl repeatedly apologized and asked for “forgiveness on behalf of Church leadership from the victims who were again wounded when they saw these priests and bishops both moved and promoted.”
Earlier this year, Wuerl’s predecessor in Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick resigned from the powerful College of Cardinals and retired from public life after a string of sexual abuse revelations. McCarrick had retired as archbishop in 2006 and none of the sexual abuse allegations cover his time in Washington.
He is accused of abusing an altar boy and several young seminary students studying to be priests during his time as a priest in New York and a bishop in New Jersey. The allegations against McCarrick were particularly damaging since it emerged that McCarrick continued to rise through the church hierarchy for decades despite two lawsuits against him and multiple warnings to church officials about his behavior.