SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento Diocese released a list Tuesday, accusing 44 Priests and two permanent deacons of abusing hundreds of people, including minors.
The diocese says three men are accused of nearly 60 of those incidents. The Catholic faithful of Sacramento are learning some of their own trusted priests are on the list released Tuesday morning.
Kevin Eckery with the diocese said releasing the list of 44 priests is later than he hoped. He says the diocese would rather get the list right rather than early.
The clergy named in the list has been credibly accused of sexually abusing 130 victims under 25. It’s based on the personnel records of nearly 1,500 bishops, priests and deacons over a 70-year period.
The list was supposed to be out by now, but it was pushed back after the diocese hired an outside consultant to investigate. That’s when the diocese and this third party came up with the formula to decide which allegations are considered “credible.”
“The standard that we’ve used to determine credibility is this, “would a reasonable person believe there’s enough information here for further investigation? It’s not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s not a moral certainty, it’s that the report is more likely than that to be true,” Eckery said.
Eckery also said in some of these cases just one allegation was enough evidence to name that priest, especially if the victim came forward to tell their story.
Meanwhile, it was an emotional mass at the Cathedral of The Blessed Sacrament. Wynette Sills prayed post-mass with a group of lay Catholics outside of the church.
“We are here to be a source of hope and love for those who have been hurt,” Sills said.
She said this day is emotional.
“I think it’s difficult to see any name listed. There are a few that are familiar to me personally, and to our family,” Sills said.
Joe Mihaljevic is angry at the accused, saying they are leaders young people are supposed to trust.
“It is too late but it is something that Has to be done. They stained the Church and they made the church looks so bad. It was humiliating,” Mihaljevic said.
Both are strong Catholics and said this scandal doesn’t make them question their faith.
“The Church will be even better and stronger despite the current circumstances and difficulties,” Sills said.
Still, the information is shocking to parishioners. The earliest abuse dates back to 1955 and is as recent as 2014. Three clergy members are responsible for almost 60 accounts of abuse.
Leaders with the diocese say no clergy accused of abuse is still with the diocese. Now they’ll take steps to have a clean slate.
“If we’re going to make any effort or any progress, or in restoring trust, that means we have to make sure that we start with, ‘here’s what’s happened in this diocese over the last 70 years,'” Eckery said.
The diocese has paid more than $50 million dollars in sex abuse settlements so far.