HOUSTON – The 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas, including the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, early next year will release the names of clergy who have served in a parish since 1950 who have been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse of a minor.
Texas bishops made the decision Sept. 30 to release the lists of names by Jan. 31 as part of their effort "to protect children from sexual abuse" while promoting "healing and a restoration of trust" in the church, calling the list a "major project."
"This is an action in response to the faithful’s call for greater accountability and transparency," Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, said in a statement. "Every bishop in our state has made a statement expressing his concern for all who have been hurt and I want to express my personal sorrow at such fundamental violations of trust that have happened. We are completely committed to eradicating the evil of sexual abuse in the church and promoting healing among the faithful and those injured by this crime."
According to a news release, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is "engaging an outside consultant to conduct an independent review of its files and records so that the list will be as accurate and complete as possible."
The 15 dioceses in Texas, which comprises of 8.5 million Catholics in 1,320 parishes, includes: Galveston-Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Amarillo, Beaumont, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Laredo, Lubbock, San Angelo, Tyler and Victoria.
Victim's advocacy group SNAP, which stands for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement the next step should be an investigation by the Attorney General's Office.
Matthew Norris, a member of SNAP, also questioned what criteria the dioceses would use to determine which accusations were credible and which were not.
"If they're going to be open about this, open the records. Let us know what the accusations have been. Let us determine what's credible. The only way we can move forward from this is the truth needs to be told. It needs to be exposed," Norris said.