The Archdiocese of Baltimore has posted a list of all priests accused of sexual abuse of children on its website, as part of the fallout from newspaper investigations portrayed in the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight”.
The list features 71 clergy members who have been accused of sexual abuse which the church found to be “credible.”
Victims and advocates hope the list will allow others who suffered abuse to come forward.
The list was published in January by Archbishop William Lori, but was not publicized until the Baltimore Sun broke the story this week.
Following revelations by a Boston Globe investigative team into its city’s diocese, which inspired this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner “Spotlight”, Baltimore’s church leadership was one of the first to list accused priests publicly in 2002.
It came as “a response to what we’ve heard from survivors,” explained diocese spokesman Sean Caine. “We’ve heard from victim-survivors that one main obstacle is the sense that they’re alone. They’re the only one. They won’t be believed.”
Victims wanted a permanent list instead of the single press releases that are published when a priest is accused of abuse, Caine told the Washington Post.
Cardinal William Keeler posted the original list of 57 priests and described abuse as “the spiritual equivalent of murder.”
He received criticism for the move, with other priests questioning the presumption of guilt in the accusations, the Sun reports.