WHEELING, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has released the names of clergy it said have been "credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors."
A news release from the diocese said the list dates back to about 1950, which is the period for which there are reasonably reliable files. More than 2,000 files were reviewed, containing tens of thousands of documents.
Below are links to the two lists - credible clergy complaints 1950 to present, which details allegations against 18 clergy members, and credible clergy complaints in other diocese, which details allegations against 13 clergy members. The diocese said 11 of the 18 accused clergy are deceased. None of the others are in active ministry. If you are on a mobile device, click here and here.
The diocese said the release of the list is “part of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s ongoing commitment to transparency in addition to helping aid in the process of reconciliation and healing for the faithful of West Virginia.”
“We hope the release of this list,” said Archbishop William Lori, Apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, “will be one of many steps taken to restore trust with parishioners and the broader community in West Virginia. We hope people see the release of this list as a sign of good faith that the diocese is committed to transparency, accountability and to providing a safe environment for children and adults.
“As we continue to pray for all victims of sexual abuse, let us also recommit ourselves to do everything we can to ensure the protection of all who are entrusted to our care.”
The list includes the names of credibly accused clergy from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and credibly accused priests from other regions or dioceses who have served within the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, but for which no claims have been filed in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, the diocese said.
A “credible” accusation means there is reasonable cause to believe that an offense has occurred considering all factors — time, place, age of the parties, background and history available, personnel files, and any other pertinent facts.
The list does not include those cases where an accusation was not credible, meaning an accusation which, after review by law enforcement and/or other civil, lay, and church officials, was not supported by evidence or there is no reasonable probability that the accused committed sexual abuse of a child.
The diocese released list “does not differentiate between criminal or non-criminal misconduct committed by priests of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, rather it refers specifically to violations of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
Some of the claims do not involve criminal conduct as determined by public authorities or do not involve actual physical contact with the victims, such as soliciting, nonetheless, they are considered violations of the charter. The list does not address matters that might involve immorality or illegality that were not sex abuse cases involving minors, that is those under age 18, the diocese said.
The news release said the Office of Safe Environment for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston will start a sexual abuse hotline at 1-833-230-5656. All calls to the hotline will be answered by staff members equipped to properly document details of abuse and direct callers to victims' assistance.