Diocese of Yakima still opposed to naming accused

Yakima Herald-Republic

By Jane Gargas / Yakima Herald-Republic

As he leaves Yakima behind, Robert Fontana, who headed the local chapter of Voice of the Faithful, remains at odds with the Catholic Diocese of Yakima over the naming of clergy accused of sexual abuse.

Fontana argues that the diocese should publish the names of all diocesan clergy on its website who have faced credible allegations of sexual abuse, where they served and when.

A spokesman for the diocese vociferously disagrees, saying that school districts and Scout organizations don’t publish names of the accused on their websites.

Listing names on diocesan websites is not unheard of, but it’s not common, either. Of the 195 dioceses in the United States, only 34 publish names of accused clerics on their websites. In Washington, just the Spokane Diocese does so. Yakima and Seattle do not.

According to the U.S. Conference of Bishops, a credible allegation is “one which has a semblance of truth to it following an initial examination of the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegation.”

While Fontana believes that victims would find it less intimidating to come forward if they thought that a clergy member may have abused others, Monsignor Robert Siler, diocese chief of staff, takes a different view.

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