Diocese of Brooklyn to publish names of pedophile priests on website
By Michael O’keeffe
New York Daily News
June 13, 2016
|David Clohessy with group SNAP (survivors network of those abused by priest) in Saint Peter's square in the Vatican, February 26, 2013.|
The Diocese of Brooklyn plans to publish a list of its sexual predator priests.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio will post the names of clergy members who have been accused of sexual abuse on the Diocese of Brooklyn’s website, a diocesan official said, calling it an attempt to be more transparent in the wake of the pedophile priest scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church for nearly two decades.
But the diocese has offered no details about its perv priest list and victim advocates say they fear the announcement is more about public relations than protecting children from predators or helping long-suffering sex abuse victims heal.
“We suspect this won’t be a complete list,” said David Clohessy, the national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
“We suspect it will contain only the names of predator priests who have already been outed through civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution, media exposés or admissions by the perpetrators themselves.”
Clohessy, though, said he was “glad” DiMarzio was publishing the list.
“We hope other bishops will do it, too. It will make it a little easier for families to protect their kids. But it doesn’t in any way reduce the need for repealing New York’s archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations.”
Victim assistance coordinator Jasmine Salazar, responding to a Daily News inquiry about what the diocese has done to combat sexual abuse since the church sex abuse scandal erupted in the early 2000s, told The News the diocese has released the names of priests accused of sexual abuse to the appropriate civil authorities.
“In addition, in his commitment to transparency, the bishop will be publishing on the diocesan website a list with the names of all those accused,” Salazar said in an emailed statement.
But Brooklyn dioceses spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad did not return calls seeking further information about when the list would be released, how many names would be on it, and what criteria will DiMarzio use to determine if sex abuse allegations are credible and a priest belongs on his pedophile list. Queens restaurateur and sex abuse survivor Shaun Dougherty, whose testimony was included in a damning Pennsylvania grand jury report released in February that found sex abuse was rampant in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, said seeing his abuser’s name in that document helped with his healing.
He said DiMarzio can help Brooklyn victims heal, too, by posting the names.
“As a victim, when I read the priest who abused me was brought before the grand jury and admitted it openly, it was a validation,” said Dougherty, who says he was abused by Father George Koharchik, one of 50 predator priests listed in the document.
“Most victims never get that.”
About 30 of the nation’s 195 dioceses and archdioceses have posted the names of priests and other clergy members accused of sexual abuse.
The Altoona-Johnstown diocese posted the names of more than two dozen priests, including Koharchik, in March. Baltimore, the first diocese to post the names of predator priests, updated its list in May.
If DiMarzio is truly committed to transparency, the bishop’s list would include the names of deceased as well as living priests, said Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability.org. It would also include clergy from religious orders as well diocesan priests.
“It should include photos and their assignment history,” said Barrett Doyle, whose website tracks priests accused of sex abuse.
“If the goal is to protect children and heal survivors, you need to provide context.”