Boston--(RNS) Just three days after the Archdiocese of Boston gave law enforcement the names of all priests known to be accused of child sexual abuse, the church Saturday (Feb. 2) discovered and reported two more. Such are the latest developments in what has been a month of scandal for Boston's Roman Catholic leadership.

A high-profile molestation trial involving a defrocked priest kicked off a string of new accusations, tougher church policies and calls from the pews for Cardinal Bernard Law to resign. "I do not believe that submitting my resignation to the Holy Father is the answer to the terrible scourge of sexual abuse of children by priests," Law wrote in an open Jan. 26 letter to area Catholics. "Rather, I intend to implement a comprehensive and aggressive child protection program in order to better uncover and prevent the sexual abuse of children."

Part of that program has been an archdiocesan initiative to go beyond Vatican requirements and report all alleged pedophiles to civil authorities. Church officials declined to say how many names they have reported so far. As a review of personnel records over 40 years continues, said spokesperson Donna Morrisey, "we do not rule out finding additional cases."

Law stands accused of having given the Rev. John J. Geoghan new parish assignments in the 1980s despite having had evidence of a pattern of pedophilia. Law has apologized repeatedly for the Geoghan decisions, saying, "I made a mistake."

In other developments:

  • Thousands of church documents, including correspondence between church leaders and alleged pedophiles, became public information last month in compliance with a judge's order.
  • A panel of medical school deans assembled last week at the church's request to begin a review of procedures for addressing clergy misconduct. In coming months, the panel will recruit national sexual abuse experts and issue a report.
  • News reports in The Boston Globe said the archdiocese had in the past 10 years settled at least 70 lawsuits involving priests accused of child molestation.
  • Geoghan, a now-defrocked priest convicted in January of assaulting a minor in a swimming pool, is scheduled to face child rape charges in court on Feb. 20.
  • more from beliefnet and our partners
    Close Ad