By Matthew Richmond
Of the 22 previously unnamed clerics accused of sexual abuse and identified Friday by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, 16 are dead. Four have been removed from the ministry. The church determined the allegations against those 20 were likely true.
Two more are on administrative leave while the church considers the accusations.
The diocese began compiling this list in 2002 and it now has 51 names, all of which are included regardless of how long ago the abuse may have occurred.
The priests and deacons included on it were all part of the diocese, not members of religious orders like Jesuits or Franciscans.
In a letter to the faithful, Bishop Nelson Perez called the addition of the new names “an occasion of profound sadness” and referred to the “great harm experienced as a result of sexual abuse.”
The Cleveland Dioceses plans to offer help to those who have been abused by priests, starting with support groups staffed by experienced facilitators this summer, according to the letter, and with a retreat in the fall, to be held at various locations around the area. The church also is putting together resources for parishes and parish cluster groups to help all members of the church deal with the emotions and backlash of abuse through “prayer, reflection and discussion,” the letter said.