A Bishop Names Accused Priests
Delaware Prelate Reverses His Position. Syracuse Bishop Still Won't Release Names
By Renée K. Gadoua
Post-Standard [Syracuse N)]
November 26, 2006
The Wilmington, Del., bishop has released the names of 20 priests with "admitted, corroborated or otherwise substantiated" allegations of sexual abuse, spurred by the arrest of a retired Delaware priest living in Syracuse since 1993.
Syracuse Bishop James Moynihan does not plan to change his policy of not releasing names, said Danielle Cummings, assistant chancellor and diocesan spokeswoman.
"He's committed to continuing on with the program, which is working in the diocese," Cummings said.
In addition to protecting the confidentiality of priests and victims, Moynihan cites the Eighth Commandment "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" to defend his policy, which he has followed since the clergy sex-abuse scandal erupted in January 2002.
The Wilmington Diocese's disclosure Nov. 16 came after Syracuse police charged the Rev. Francis G. DeLuca Oct. 19 with five misdemeanors accusing him of repeated sexual contact with an underage boy.
DeLuca, 77, of 100 Pastime Drive, Syracuse, was ordained in 1958. He ministered in the Wilmington Diocese for 35 years before he was dismissed from public ministry in 1993 after he was accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1960s. The Wilmington Diocese in 2003 in-
formed the Syracuse Diocese DeLuca was living here.
Wilmington Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli said the DeLuca case persuaded him to reverse the diocese's policy.
"By disclosing the names and locations . . . we perhaps in some way may help prevent or deter any further incidents," he wrote in a letter published in the Wilmington Diocese's weekly newspaper, The Dialog.
The list includes eight living diocesan priests, 10 deceased priests and two priests from other dioceses who had ministered there.
"It's very little, very late, and very begrudging," said David Clohessy, executive director of the national organization Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Wilmington joinsabout 12 of 195 U.S. dioceses that have released names of credibly accused priests, he said. Dioceses that have done so include Baltimore, Toledo, Los Angeles and Albany.
Cummings confirmed the Syracuse Diocese has removed 23 priests from ministry since 2002 as a result of credible allegations of sexual abuse. About 100 people have accused 50 local priests of sexual abuse since 1950. Diocesan investigations have cleared nine priests, she said.
The diocese has filed requests with the Vatican, seeking the removal of 22 priests from the priesthood, she said.
Cummings said the Syracuse Diocese last week received word it was found in compliance with rules the bishops agreed to in 2002 to protect children. The review by the Gavin Group was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Rochester Diocese, which includes Cayuga County, has for several years issued news releases announcing actions against priests after determination of a credible accusation, said Doug Mandelaro, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.
According toa 2004 report released by the diocese, since 1950, the Rochester Diocese has received 114 allegations that named 36 diocesan priests. As a result of the complaints, 18 clerics were suspended or resigned. Allegations involving six clerics were determined to be unfounded, and six cases had insufficient information or were not substantiated, the report said.
The bishops of Syracuse and Rochester have been named as defendants in a class-action lawsuit asking the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and 178 American bishops to disclose the names of all priests accused of sexual abuse.
The suit was filed by the family of a Wisconsin man shot and killed in February 2002 by a priest after the man reportedly disclosed information that indicated the priest had molested children.
Tuesday, the family's lawyer said the family was removing Wilmington's bishop from the suit because of his recent disclosure of the names of priests accused of sexual abuse.
Clohessy said he hopes Saltarelli's action will spur other bishops to release names.
"The quickest, easiest and cheapest way to protect kids is to do what he has done: These are the bad guys; be warned," he said.
Renee K. Gadoua can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 470-2203
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