BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Survivors of clergy sex abuse and their supporters are outlining their requests for Catholic Church leaders ahead of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which began Monday in Baltimore.
Among the changes victims want to see are archdioceses nationwide releasing the names of clergy and anyone in the church who has been accused of abuse.
Leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) group said that list can be validating for victims.
“When survivors see the names of their abusers listed, they feel a sense of validation and that they are not alone. I know I felt this way when I saw my priests name listed in the Arlington Arch Diocese,” said Becky Ianni with SNAP.
At the annual conference, more than 200 bishops from around the county will talk about gun violence, priorities for the upcoming few years and are discussing several liturgical action items. They will also elect a new president.
SNAP is appealing to the new leadership, asking that it release regularly-updated lists of abusers within the church, enter inter partnerships with secular law enforcement officials and encourage survivors to continue coming forward with their stories.
“These are the most simple basic steps that have the most profound effect for protecting children around the country,” said David Lorenz, the director of Maryland SNAP.
Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said Baltimore has been responsive to these requests from the very beginning.
“I can’t speak for the whole conference, but I can speak for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. We released our names back in 2002, we have updated our list, we are doing our level best to be completely transparent,” he said.
A conference spokesperson said the group meeting in Baltimore this week is not a governance organization and that it’s the responsibility of each individual diocese to release the names of accused abusers.