Names of priests with credible allegations of abuse will remain unreleased

Syracuse Bishop Robert J. Cunningham will continue the diocese’s current practice of not publicly releasing the names of priests against whom allegations of abuse have been found credible, according to diocesan Chancellor and Director of Communications Danielle Cummings.

   The diocese will also continue to confirm the name of such a priest if a victim makes it public, she said in an email to the Sun.

   Cummings’ comments followed a syracuse.com report that the bishop would not release such names.

   In a Dec. 11 letter to the people of the diocese, Bishop Cunningham addressed the issue and said he would “continue to pray and reflect” on any changes in policy.

   “It has been the practice of the diocese to only confirm the names of those accused once it is made known by the individual who brought forth the allegation,” he wrote. “The reason for this is to uphold the privacy of the individuals involved. Although some have asked that the names of those they accuse become public, others have asked that they never become public. It has been a difficult balance to maintain. I have been and will continue to pray and reflect upon any changes in our current practice.” (Read the full letter here: http://bit.ly/1Fp25gn)

   The decision to continue the current practice reflects the desire to honor the wishes of all who have come forward, Cummings said.

   “The balance he [Bishop Cunningham] has been able to maintain to honor both requests [to release and to not release names] is to confirm the name if the individual makes it public. At this time he has not found a better way to honorably meet both requests,” she said.

   Cummings said there are 11 individuals with credible allegations whose names have not been made public.

   These individuals are no longer able to function as priests, wear clerical garb or present themselves as priests, Cummings said.

   There are no priests in active ministry who have had a credible allegation of child sexual abuse, she stressed.

   A credible allegation is one that, “based upon the facts of the case, meets one or more of the following thresholds: a. Natural, reasonable, plausible and probable; b. Corroborated with other evidence or another source; or c. Acknowledged/admitted to by the accused,” according to the diocese’s Child & Youth Protection Policy.

   The diocese does not tolerate sexual misconduct, assault or exploitation by priests, deacons, members of religious communities, diocesan lay employees, volunteers or members of a diocesan community in any form. To report known or suspected abuse, immediately contact law enforcement and the diocesan Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance at (315) 470-1465.

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