Dec 28, 2019

AP: Over 900 clergy accused of child sexual abuse absent from dioceses' lists

In this image, the Pope stands in front of a crowd of clergy members

Pope Francis holds a 'Protection of Minors in the Church' meeting in February 2019 in Vatican City. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Over 900 clergy accused of sexually abusing children are not included in dioceses' public lists of those credibly accused, AP reports.

The big picture: Sexual abuse and misconduct within the Catholic Church is a global problem that has persisted for decades. Pope Francis recently unveiled rules to make the Church accountable for reporting allegations of abuse.

  • Last week, Francis rid the church of the privacy it was previously given in internal proceedings that dealt with sexual abuse by banning "pontifical secrecy" — which often protected perpetrators.

What they're saying: Church officials told AP that without an admission of guilt, "they have to weigh releasing a name against harming the reputation of priests who may have been falsely accused."

  • Naming priests can also open church officials to lawsuits from accused priests who maintain their innocence, AP reports.

Flashback: Francis concluded a Vatican summit on sexual abuse in February by calling for an "all-out battle" against the issue. But, the Church did not make public any concrete measures to move forward to address it.

Go deeper: The stunning scale of the global Catholic sex abuse crisis

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