What to Know
- A grand jury report said Cardinal Donald Wuerl allowed Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children to be reassigned or reinstated.
- The Catholic archdiocese said it assembled the list on Wuerl's orders. Wuerl is set to resign next month.
- Wuerl said in a statement there had not been a credible allegation of abuse of a minor by a priest of the archdiocese in almost 20 years.
The Archdiocese of Washington has released the names of 28 former members of clergy who they say were "credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors" dating back as far as 1948.
The Catholic archdiocese said it assembled the list on the orders of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who is set to resign next month after a Pennsylvania grand jury report said he allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children to be reassigned or reinstated when he was the bishop of Pittsburgh.
Wuerl said in a statement that there had not been a credible allegation of abuse of a minor by a priest of the archdiocese in almost 20 years, and that no priest in active ministry had ever been accused.
"This list is a painful reminder of the grave sins committed by clergy, the pain inflicted on innocent young people and the harm done to the Church's faithful, for which we continue to seek forgiveness," Wuerl's statement said.
The names of the priests can be found on the archdiocese's website. A number of the members of clergy were convicted of crimes, and many have died.
SNAP, a national network of sexual abuse victims, said they suspect the list is incomplete.
"It's hard to believe that we only had 28," David Lorenz of the organization told News4.
The Pennsylvania grand jury report found that some 300 priests abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s, and Wuerl is one of a string of bishops in six dioceses the report says covered up for them.
Most of the victims were boys. Some were teens, while others were prepubescent. Several alleged victims were lured with alcohol or pornography. Afterward, they turned to substance abuse and even suicide to escape the lingering trauma.
Wuerl has asked for prayers and forgiveness for what he calls his lapse of judgment in dealing with reports of abuse by priests.
The archbishop recently called for a "Season of Healing," inviting parishes and parishioners to observe six weeks of Friday prayers in recognition of the pain of the victims and the need for healing.
Last month, a man stood in a Mass Wuerl was celebrating in D.C. and yelled "Shame on you" after Wuerl asked parishioners to keep Pope Francis in their prayers.
The Washington Archdiocese urges anyone aware of suspected sexual misconduct to report it to authorities or call the Office of Child Protection and Safe Environment for the Archdiocese of Washington at 301-853-5302.