Today, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Ohio released a list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Publication of the list is important for survivors, because it gives them validation. Simply seeing a perpetrator’s name on a list serves as corroboration of that survivor’s experience. And while this is a step in the right direction by the Diocese, it should not be championed as more than it actually is: Just names.
The Catholic Church as a whole must own its past and present in order to change its future. To that end, the Diocese should disclose what criteria it used to determine whether an allegation is credible. Further, it should disclose how many other allegations it received and determined to be non-credible, and why? Without true transparency, the Church can continue to conceal its dark secrets while professing to the public that it wishes help victims heal.
Konrad Kircher and Ryan McGraw are presently involved in litigation with the Diocese arising out of the sexual abuse of a young man by a priest within the Diocese in the early 2000s. In that case, Kircher and McGraw have demanded that the Diocese turn over all of the files they have on priests accused of sexually abusing children. The Diocese has refused to do so claiming that “allegations of sexual abuse made by other victims against other clergy will undoubtedly and unfairly prejudice them.” Undoubtedly? Absolutely. Unfairly? Absolutely not. The public needs to understand what the diocese knew, when it knew it, and what it did or did not do about it. This is important to learn how to protect children in the future.
Kircher and McGraw look forward to continuing the fight for transparency. If you or a loved one is a survivor of priest abuse, call them today for a confidential consultation.