NEW YORK (AP) - In a major policy shift, the Diocese of Brooklyn announced Wednesday that it will give prosecutors the names of Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse over the past 20 years.
Bishop Thomas Daily said district attorneys in the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn will receive some names as early as Friday and that the diocese is still reviewing files.
"As in the past, we will cooperate with them in any investigations they may wish to pursue,'' he said.
The diocese serves 1.6 million Catholics in Queens and Brooklyn. The other dioceses in the area - the Archdiocese of New York, which serves 2.4 million Catholics in New York City and its northern suburbs, and the Diocese of Rockville Center, which includes 1.5 million Catholics on Long Island - have already handed over files on sex abuse allegations.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said he was pleased with Daily's decision. As recently as March 22, the bishop had said he did not plan to release the information.
Daily emerged as a key figure in the case of defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, who has been accused of molesting more than 130 children in the Boston archdiocese. The church crisis emerged in Boston in January with the disclosure that Geoghan had been moved from parish to parish after being accused of sexual abuse.
Daily has acknowledged he never informed law enforcement authorities about Geoghan, and when he transferred him to another parish he did not recall telling the parish's pastor about the complaints against Geoghan.