Providence Catholic bishop promises to list abusive priests

Newport Daily News

December 22, 2018

By Brian Amaral

An announcement Friday that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence would release the names of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse was met with questions and some skepticism from victims, advocates and lawyers who have battled the church.

“How do we know whether they’re giving us names that aren’t already known to the public and police?” said Carl DeLuca, a Rhode Island lawyer who represented children abused by Providence diocese priests. “It’s kind of a question of faith. The history is not such that they’re really entitled to that kind of faith.”

On Friday, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said in a WPRI Newsmakers interview that the diocese would release the names of credibly accused priests sometime in the next year, following in the steps of other dioceses in the country.

He told WPRI’s Tim White and Ted Nesi in the interview released Friday that he did not expect many people would be surprised at the priests on the list, because most of them will have already been publicized. Tobin defined “credible” as allegations where “it seems like it could have happened and probably did happen,” but did not say how far back in the files the church would go.

“The first focus has to be on the victims themselves,” Tobin said.

The diocese did not respond to The Providence Journal’s request for an interview on Saturday. Tobin said he has removed five priests over credible allegations in his 13 years as bishop.

Timothy Conlon, a lawyer who represented people abused by Providence diocese priests when they were children, said he’d need to see the names released before knowing whether the diocese was breaking with what he sees as its history of hiding the truth.

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