The Catholic Church in Washington has released the names of 28 former clergy members that it says were “credibly” accused of sexual abuse since 1948.
A letter released Monday by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said the move is “a necessary step towards full transparency and accountability and the process of healing.”
The archdiocese said it created the list on the orders of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who announced last week he was retiring, following a Pennsylvania grand jury report that said he allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to be reassigned when he was the bishop of Pittsburgh.
“This list is a painful reminder of the grave sins committed by clergy, the pain inflicted on innocent young people, and the harm done to the church’s faithful, for which we continue to seek forgiveness,” Wuerl said in a statement.
Wuerl said the list shows that there has not been a credible allegation of abuse of a minor by a priest of the archdiocese in almost 20 years. He also said that no priest currently in active ministry has ever been accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
The Washington archdiocese has been in turmoil since the previous archbishop, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, was accused of abusing children and adults, and was suspended in June over the allegations. McCarrick later resigned.
Wuerl, a top ally of Pope Francis, announced this month he would retire, following months of criticism over the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
The report found that some 300 U.S. priests abused more than 1,000 children since the 1940s, and Wuerl was named as one of several bishops who allegedly covered up for the abusive priests.
Last month, when Wuerl was celebrating Mass in Washington, a man stood up and yelled, “Shame on you,” after Wuerl asked parishioners to keep Pope Francis in their prayers.