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The Roman Catholic Church in Texas has identified about 300 priests who have been credibly accused in claim of child sex abuse, including many who are deceased, but some who may still be serving in churches, schools and other positions.
All 15 dioceses across the state of Texas released a list separately last Thursday. The Catholic Church child sex abuse claims span a time period of about 80 years.
Click2Houston obtained links for the list from every diocese in the state.
The lists comes amid increased attention on child sex abuse allegations against priests in the Catholic Church worldwide, and the alleged attempts to cover up such activities and protect priests from the law that have gone on for decades. There is increasing pressure on the church to become more transparent and accountable for the behavior of priests or others placed in a position of trust and authority over minors.
In August 2018, a grand jury report highlighted cases involving at least 90 Catholic priests accused of sex abuse in the Pittsburgh area, involving allegations and cover-ups that spanned decades.
That report indicated that the Catholic Church of Pennsylvania covered up abuse involving priests who abused more than 1,000 victims, mostly children, over the course of 70 years. After 90 of those priests were identified, it sparked investigations by the Justice Department and states’ attorneys general nationwide.
The Texas Catholic Church report was followed by a raid on the offices of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in November by local and federal law enforcement in connection to a sex abuse investigation.
In the last several months, a number of dioceses nationwide have released similar lists of what the church considers “credibly accused” priests who allegedly were involved in sexual assaults on minors and vulnerable adults.
The USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus, known more commonly as the Jesuits, released a similar list on January 15, including the names of 50 priests who served in portions of New England and New York.
The scandal has reignited concerns that have existed for decades regarding the church’s alleged efforts to cover up sex abuse by priests by shuffling them from one parish to another and preventing police involvement.
“It is my prayer and hope that publishing this list will help to bring healing from the hurt and anger caused by the lack of accountability and transparency on the part of church leadership,” wrote Joe Vasquez, the Bishop for Austin, in the list for his diocese. “The victims of sexual abuse by clergy have experienced much pain; we must continue to pray and care for our brothers and sisters who have suffered greatly. I apologize to the victims and their families for the diocese’s failures. The Church must always be willing to recognize and correct its failings.”
The spotlight on the issue has renewed some efforts to level sex abuse litigation against the Church. Last month, an attorney representing a number of victims announced that the Catholic Church had agreed to settle at least five sexual abuse lawsuits brought against a former priest in New Jersey.