Catholic leaders in Texas accuse hundreds of priests of abuse

Catholic leaders in Texas accuse hundreds of priests of abuse
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Catholic leaders in Texas this week accused nearly 300 priests of sexually abusing children, according to reports.

The New York Times reported Friday that 286 priests were deemed credibly accused of abuse by 14 dioceses across the state. The allegations date as far back as the 1940s for some dioceses and 1950s for others.

It is unclear whether local prosecutors will bring criminal charges, NBC News reported.

San Antonio reported the highest number of allegations among Texas dioceses, accusing 56 clergy members of abuse. 

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“The Bishops of Texas have decided to release the names of these priests at this time because it is right and just and to offer healing and hope to those who have suffered,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement.

“On behalf of all who have failed in this regard, I offer my sincerest apology. Our church has been lacerated by this wound and we must take action to heal it,” he added.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called the disclosure “one small step towards transparency,” in a statement.

“Any and all transparency is to be applauded coming from a closed and secret culture such as the Roman Catholic Church,” the group statement said. “Still, we are concerned that these lists might not be as transparent as promised.”

The reports from the Texas dioceses follow months after similar reports from Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in December accused the Catholic Church of covering up allegations of abuse against more than 500 priests.

A grand jury report in August detailed more 1,000 alleged instances of sexual abuse by more than 300 Catholic Church members in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses.