The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston is delaying the release of names of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors in South Carolina dating back to 1950.
The diocese originally planned to make the names public by mid-February, but it now plans to do so by the end of March.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said the delay is due to the time it's taking to review priest personnel records from 2007 through today.
"When we release the list of names, we want it to be accurate to the best of our knowledge. We owe that to the victims, the faithful and the public," Guglielmone said in a news release Monday.
The diocese previously reviewed files dating to 1950 in connection with a class-action settlement. In 2007, the diocese agreed to pay up to $12 million to nearly 150 people — victims born before Aug. 30, 1980, who were sexually abused by priests and diocese employees, and victims’ eligible family members. Those payouts ranged from $13,000 to $425,000 each.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests urged Guglielmone to immediately release the names of priests who have already been deemed credibly accused of abusing children and add to that list later. The peer support group said victims continue to suffer when the names of predators remain hidden.
"Given everything that the world has learned about clergy sex abuse and cover-ups in the past six months, especially the revelations that bishops continue to carefully curate lists and keep the names of the accused hidden, we would think that Church officials in South Carolina would be stepping all over themselves trying to demonstrate their 'transparency' to parishioners and the public," SNAP said in a statement.
Guglielmone has said the diocese is "committed to transparency" and that releasing the names of those accused will be a step in the healing process for victims.