Alleged victims of clergy abuse demand S.F. archbishop release list of suspected offenders

San Francisco Chronicle [San Francisco CA]

September 29, 2022

By Michael Cabanatuan

A group of people claiming to be survivors of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church demanded Thursday that San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly release a list of priests and others who have been accused of abuse in the San Francisco archdiocese.

Dioceses and archdioceses across the country — including in the Bay Area — have released lists of the men accused of sexual abuse of minors as part of an effort to atone for the abuse scandal.

But San Francisco remains a holdout.

The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has prepared its own list of 312 priests, brothers and lay people active in the archdiocese’s 88 churches in San Francisco, San Marin and San Mateo counties — and planned to release it Thursday.

They’re calling on the archdiocese to release its own list, a move they say is important.

The archdiocese told The Chronicle that its “transparency related to sexual abuse is directed to civil authorities such as police and sheriff departments, as well as an independent review board and our parish communities.”

“Such allegations are treated very seriously to protect the victims and the the vulnerable and to insure justice for all involved,” the statement from the archdiocese said.

Zach Hiner, executive director of the survivors’ group, said lists of the accused serve as a public acknowledgment that helps abuse survivors to heal, and because many of those accused of abuse in the church are able to avoid being publicly named in criminal charges or sex offender registries due to statutes of limitation.

“Because of the church’s history and organized cover-ups, survivors are often “left with no way to get their abuser’s name into the public sphere, therefore leaving others at risk,” Hiner said. “For 20 years now, dioceses have been releasing these lists in recognition of their responsibility to warn the public about abusers they hired, trained, and ordained.”

Representatives of the group said they did extensive research to identify the 312 men on their list, using information from news reports, civil lawsuits, criminal proceedings, and the church. In addition to naming the accused, the group also wants the archdiocese to include work histories and photos of the accused and wants details on when each allegation was reported to the church and the actions it took in response.

The group said it expects the list of the accused to grow.

“More names are certainly coming,” it said in the letter. “There is much to do to prepare the ground for these yet unknown survivors, and these yet unknown perpetrators.”

The archdiocese said that it takes all accusations seriously and investigates each one. Any priest under investigation is prohibited by church rules from participating in any ministry work.

Michael Cabanatuan (he/him) is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @ctuan