Advocate groups respond to diocese’s decision to release names


The Diocese of Baton Rouge announced Tuesday that it plans to release the names of clergy members accused of sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Baton Rouge joins others around the state set to release names of those accused. This comes during a time of growing conversations around sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. 

This decision to release names comes only a short time after Bishop Michael Duca was installed. Here is the statement from the Diocese of Baton Rouge:

“The Diocese of Baton Rouge, which was formed in 1961, will release the names of  priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. This is of the highest priority to us. We’re working on a process to research our files so that when we do publish the list it will be accurate and complete. Part of this process is to establish a timeline for the release of the list. As Bishop Duca said recently, we want to be “attentive to the issues of justice and show concern for victims in a way that is transparent, credible, honest and caring.”

There are a number of organizations focused on assisting victims of sexual abuse and trauma. Among the list is Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response in Baton Rouge, better known as STAR. Capital Area Regional Director Kirsten Raby said she supports the decision to release the names because it holds alleged abusers accountable, and lets victims know that they are supported.

Tim Lennon, the president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said releasing the names is a step in the right direction, but he feels it is not enough.

“They have a long history, a proven history of cover up and they control all the information. That’s why we call for a civil investigation,” Lennon said.

Lennon urged Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to launch a statewide investigation.

Landry said his office has not received any complaints against a member of the clergy in the state of Louisiana nor has be received any referrals from a district attorney,which he said is required by law for his office to initiate any prosecution.

Landry said, if any accusations are brought to his attention, his office will work to bring predators to justice.

As for what else can be done moving forward, Lennon said it is important to support survivors.

“It’s sad to hear and sad to know that so many people have been harmed. I think it is important for survivors to know that they are not alone,” Lennon said.

STAR provides a variety of resources. The 24/7 hotline is 855-435-STAR. 

SNAP also provides a variety of resources for those in need. For more information, visit the SNAP website.

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