The Diocese of Fresno may soon release the names of local priests who’ve been accused of sexual misconduct. Bishop Armando Ochoa said they have a process in place to release the names, but it takes time.
Diocese spokesperson Teresa Dominguez believes the list may be released within a year.
“We are broken hearted, we are bruised, we are hurting,” prayed Ochoa on Friday.
It was a prayer for all those who have been sexually abused by the Catholic Church clergy. “Send your healing spirit to our brothers and sisters who have endured pain and abuse…”
Ochoa announced a plan is now in place to review clergy files within the Diocese of Fresno – which spans eight counties that include Fresno, Tulare, Madera, Kings, Merced, and Mariposa.
Dominguez, who is a survivor of abuse too, stated, “Our files date back to 1922, and that’s a lot of material to go through.”
Ochoa and Dominguez explained how the process will begin this Spring. After that, they will format a list of names of accused clergy.
“An estimated time for the release of names of accused clergy will then be determined,” Ochoa said.
But victims’ advocates, like attorney Jeff Anderson, said the Diocese of Fresno is taking too long to release the names. Anderson pioneered the use of civil litigation to seek justice for survivors of child sexual abuse and his law firm in Minnesota represents survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
Anderson said, “Every day these bishops make these choices to continue to hide the offenders, the identity of the offenders, and their role in protecting them, just pours salt in wounds that have already been open.”
The attorney said the only way a victim can fully heal, is when there is full transparency by the Church.
The Diocese of Fresno has a whole department called Safe Environment, victims can contact the victim assistance coordinator a report a sexual abuse crime.