PITTSBURGH — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg is pledging to release a list of clergy who faced credible allegations of child sexual abuse. The list will be posted on the diocese website on the same date of the imminent release of a statewide grand jury report into it and five other dioceses.
In a lengthy report released on its website, the diocese offered a “sincere and open apology to the survivors of sexual abuse and to all those impacted by the grievous failures of the Catholic Church.”
The Pittsburgh Diocese announced plans last week to release a similar list when the report comes out, and the Allentown and Scranton Dioceses say they will, too. The Harrisburg and Erie Dioceses recently posted such lists on their websites.
The Greensburg list will include names of some priests already known for their alleged offenses, but it will also include names that “may not be familiar,” Bishop Edward Malesic said.
He did not specify whether the list would include only diocesan priests or whether it would include those in religious orders who have worked in the diocese.
No one on the list is currently in ministry, Malesic said.
The diocese says it has improved its response to youth protection over the years and is committed to the Catholic Church’s national “zero tolerance” policies toward abusers.
That any man “who wears the same clothes I do as a priest harmed these innocent children, robbed them of their innocence and in some cases of their faith, that makes me angry,” Malesic said Thursday. He offered apologies on behalf of himself and the 140,000 Catholics in the diocese’s counties of Westmoreland, Armstrong, Indiana, and Fayette.
Since Malesic took office in 2015, the diocese has had two reviews of its files conducted, one by a retired Westmoreland County judge and the other by its legal counsel after it was subpoenaed by the Attorney General’s Office during the grand jury investigation.
The diocese says it immediately reports all allegations to law enforcement authorities and suspends anyone from ministry while an allegation is investigated, and cited two recent examples.
“While we are not proud of our past failures in this regard, we are proud of our diocese’s ongoing and continually evolving response, our efforts to protect, and our determination to help survivors heal,” the diocesan statement said. “Our parishioners can be confident of the processes and procedures we have in place today to protect children and report to law enforcement any abuse of which we become aware, no matter when it occurred.”
Parishioners will be getting fact sheets at Mass on how the diocese has responded, and Malesic has recorded a message on video to be posted the day the report is released.
The 40th statewide grand jury has prepared a report of more than 800 pages that looks back 70 years into the handling of abusive clerics and others by dioceses. The state Supreme Court ordered the release of a redacted version of the report, omitting references to about two dozen clergy until it can hear their challenges to their depictions in the document.