ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Ramsey County judge has given the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis until Dec. 17 to disclose a list of 33 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
District Judge John Van de North on Monday also ordered the Diocese of Winona to release a similar list of 13 priests. Both lists were compiled in 2004.
"Today marks an enormously burden relieving moment," said St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who specializes in clergy sex abuse cases. "The era of secrecy around the identities of those offenders is now nearing an end."
The Archdiocese must release the priests' names, birth year and age, year of ordination, whether they're alive or dead and the year of death, the parishes they served, their current status, and the current city and state where they live.
Judge Van de North says the dioceses must provide detailed explanations for any names they choose not to release.
Advocates for victims of sexually abusive priests were quick to react. "These names won't include all of the alleged predator priests in these two dioceses," said Megan Peterson, leader of Twin Cities-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "We suspect that records have been destroyed and that abuse reports against dozens of credibly accused clerics have been wrongly deemed "unsubstantiated" by self-serving Catholic officials over the past few decades."
The dioceses must file the same information by Jan. 6 for any priests accused in the decade since the lists were compiled.
SNAP's Peterson is pushing the Archdiocese not to waste any time in making the names of abusive priests public. "We urge these two Catholic officials to release the names now, instead of waiting until the 12/17 deadline," she said in a written statement. "Hiding the identities of proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters is irresponsible. Each delay gives a potential or actual criminal more chances to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, fabricate alibis and threaten witnesses."
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