Advocates of those sexually abused by priests spoke out in Monterey this week. They want the Catholic Diocese of Monterey to expand its list of accused clerics.
Standing on Church Street in front of the Diocese of Monterey, advocate David Clohessy called for more transparency.
“If you're going to claim to come clean, then for heaven's sake, come fully clean and tell the flock. Tell the parents, the parishioners, the public, the police,” Clohessy said.
Clohessy is with the support group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He says as dioceses across the country have released lists of clerics accused of sexual abuse, many are incomplete.
“Tell them about each and every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric. And that's how kids will be safe,” said Clohessy.
Clohessy says at least three clerics have been left off the local list, but he says they found them on other lists of accused clerics.
But according to the Diocese of Monterey, it didn’t have jurisdiction over those clerics, or the abuse allegations were not credible. In a statement, the Diocese wrote, "We are working hard and remain committed to assure our community that we are making every effort to ensure the safety of children and young people under our care as well as assist victims of sexual misconduct." (See below for more from their statement.)
Dr. Joseph George is a Sacramento psychologist and lawyer who has represented abuse victims. He joined Clohessy in speaking out Thursday.
“The Catholic Church is extremely skilled at circumventing the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act. And not filing CPS (Child Protective Services) or law enforcement reports,” George said.
This month, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he will review whether Catholic dioceses across the state adequately reported allegations of sexual abuse.
Diocese of Monterey Statement Continued:
"Over the past sixteen years since the Bishops of the United States promulgated the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Diocese of Monterey has embraced the Charter and has implemented policies and procedures to protect children including the following:
1. We train all of our staff that are mandated reporters of child abuse in their duty to report
suspected child abuse and we support their independent and individual decision to report any and all such incidents.
2. We require everyone who works with children or young people or who such children would
see as a “safe church person” to be fingerprinted and to undergo training in child abuse prevention. Since 2003, we have completed criminal background checks on 26,000 people. This number includes every priest, deacon, and all employees and volunteers who work with children;
3. We have a Code of Pastoral Conduct in place that outlines the expectations when working with children and, we have trained those who work with children in this Code of Conduct;
4. We immediately turn over all cases of suspected child abuse to law enforcement;
5. We train our children (both in religious education and Catholic Schools) in how to stay safe
from child abuse and what to do if they are being abused;
6. We have a Pastoral Outreach Coordinator to respond to victims of clergy sexual misconduct.
Her toll-free number is 800-321-5220; and,
7. The Diocese has an Independent Review Board to advise the Bishop on child abuse whether
it involves priests, deacons or lay people."