The Assignment Record Project
BishopAccountability.org has launched a project to gather and post the assignment records of every U.S. Catholic priest who has been accused of sexual abuse since 1940, so that vulnerable communities can be identified and bishops' transfer policies can be determined.
See below for a brief description of assignment records and their importance, easy ways that you can help with this project, and our initial list of assignment records. For a more detailed account of assignment record research and how you can volunteer, see our guide.
Assignment Records: Why They Are Important
An assignment record lists all the diocesan and parish appointments of a priest, including telltale periods of sick leave. A detailed assignment record, like this assignment record of John Geoghan created by the Boston Globe, identifies populations that have been placed at risk, and is also cross-referenced with a list of accusations, so that the transfer policies of the priest's bishops can be evaluated. By identifying a priests' seminary class and the colleagues with whom he has worked, an assigment record can also begin to identify the circle of colleagues who kept the priest's activities secret and who might even have been involved in the abuse themselves.
Assignment records are all around us:
* Newspaper accounts of the crisis
* Diocesan records
* Investigative files
* Obituaries and other old newspaper reports
But these records are dispersed and difficult to find, and complete assignment records for most accused priests are not publicly available. We urge the U.S. bishops to publish detailed assignment records with treatment episodes and accusation dates for every abuser. In the meantime, we are undertaking this work of research and collection ourselves. See our initial collection of assignment records below.
Volunteering for the Assignment Record Project
Please send us any assignment records that know about or come across:
* In your daily newspaper reading
* In your personal experience, if you are a survivor of abuse
* In the research that you've done, if you are a lawyer or a reporter working in this area
If you would like to join the Service Record Project as a volunteer -- for a few hours, or a few hours per week, or anything in between -- please read our guide to service record research, and email us to let us know you're interested. This is work that you can do at a local Catholic college library or at most central city libraries, and you can email, snail mail, or even phone us the results.
List of Assignment Records
The staff at BishopAccountability.org has begun to assemble a library of assignment records for accused priests and others who figure in the crisis.Some we have developed ourselves from the Official Catholic Directory, diocesan documents, and investigative reports. Others were created by lawyers and investigative reporters. Others were created by the dioceses themselves and relinquished under subpoena, or were prepared by the dioceses in response to investigation by law enforcement.
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