We Assembled the Only Nationwide Database of Priests Deemed Credibly Accused of Abuse. Here’s How.


January 28, 2020

By Ellis Simani and Lexi Churchill

ProPublica’s reporting spanned several months and produced an original database containing each diocesan list as it was originally published online.

ProPublica published an interactive database on Tuesday that lets users search for clergy who have been listed as credibly accused of sexual abuse in reports released by Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

It is, as of publication, the only nationwide database of official disclosures. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the religious leaders’ national membership organization, does not publicly release any centralized, countrywide collection of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual assault.

But in the absence of any mandate or directive, 178 bishops, archbishops and religious community leaders across the U.S. have published individual lists of clergy members against whom credible allegations were made as of Jan. 20. Each diocese and religious order sets its own standard for determining the credibility of allegations.

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