CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone has announced that the Diocese of Charleston will release the names of priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the diocese dating back to 1950.
The bishop said in a Dec. 3 statement that he plans to release the names no later than mid-February 2019.
“We are committed to transparency,” Bishop Guglielmone said.
“Releasing the names of those credibly accused is another step in the healing process for all those who have been harmed by priests,” he continued.
In 2007, as part of its Class Action Settlement Agreement, the diocese undertook a detailed review of diocesan priest personnel and other relevant files. The results of that review were shared with law enforcement officials.
The diocese is now reviewing its priest personnel files starting from 2007 up to the present. The current list will be released once this check is complete.
The release of the names will be a crucial landmark in the Diocese of Charleston’s ongoing effort to confront the most recent abuse crisis in the U.S. Church — which reached a peak in the summer with a grand jury report about years of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania dioceses, as well as Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s resignation on the heels of abuse allegations.
In the wake of the latest crisis, diocesan officials are reviewing and updating diocesan policies and practices related to sexual abuse allegations. On Aug. 31, Bishop Guglielmone sent a letter to the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. He expressed his anger at the situation and asked for an investigation into Archbishop McCarrick’s rise to power despite reported knowledge of his sexual misconduct. In mid-November, Bishop Guglielmone started a series of town hall meetings around the diocese to discuss the current abuse crisis and answer questions from the faithful.
The first was held on Nov. 19 at St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton. Other meetings are scheduled for Dec. 10 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Charleston, Dec. 11 at the Basilica of St. Peter in Columbia, Jan. 10 at St. Michael Church in Murrells Inlet, Jan. 14 at St. Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken, Jan. 28 at St. Anne Church in Rock Hill and Jan. 29 at St. Mary Church in Greenville.
More detailed information about child protection and sexual abuse allegations in the Diocese of Charleston can be found at www.sccatholic.org/downloads/bishop/Information AboutChildProtection.pdf.