Catholic Church officials in New Jersey have named nearly 200 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.
Each of the five Catholic dioceses in the state released their own lists of names, totaling 189 in all. The lists include parishes where each priest worked, if they had more than one accuser and if the priest has either been removed from their ministry or is now deceased.
Kevin Waldrip says that the release of the names provides him with some measure of justice. Waldrip was a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Newark with dreams of becoming a priest. But he says that his own priest molested him.
“I was 13. It was my 13th birthday,” he says. “It robbed me of my youth. It robbed me of myself.”
Cardinal Joseph Tobin released a video statement following the release of the names.
“Victims, their families and the faithful are rightfully outraged over the abuses perpetrated against minors,” Tobin said.
Tobin also said, “Anyone aware of suspected sexual misconduct by any cleric, employee, or volunteer of the Archdiocese [should] report it immediately to law enforcement and to the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator: 201-407-3256.”
Some victims’ advocates say that they remain skeptical that things will change. Bob Hoatson says that he believes more victims may now come forward.
“Many victims will now say to themselves, ‘My goodness there’s Father So-and-so’s name. He abused me too. I didn’t realize he abused anybody else,'” Hoatson says.
The release of names comes after New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal started an investigation last year into how the Catholic Church handled sexual abuse claims in the state.
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