The Diocese of Helena posted an online list Wednesday of every employee accused of sexually abusing a minor while working there.
The list dates back to the 1930s and includes the names of 80 priests, Ursuline Sisters, lay workers and others. A settlement between the Diocese and hundreds of victims requires that the names be posted and remain pinned to the Diocese homepage for the next decade.
Dan Bartleson, spokesman for the Diocese, said this is the latest stride in the “victim oriented approach” the Diocese has taken throughout the litigation process.
“We feel like this step is one of the more difficult steps for the Diocese in that some of these names will leave questions for the faithful,” Bartleson said. “It’s difficult to think of someone you grew up with who was good to you and your family being accused of sexual abuse, but we need to make sure we err on the side of victims if in any way this could contribute to their healing or give them any kind of closure.”
Bryan G. Smith of Tamaki Law, the firm that represented 95 of the 362 victims who sued the Catholic institution, called this the most important non-economic piece of the settlement.
“It’s a recognition by the church that they have, or had, within their ranks credibly accused perpetrators of sexual abuse,” Smith said.
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