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Providence Diocese Lists Priests Accused Of Sexually Abusing Children

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released a list Monday of clerics, religious order priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

The list of 50 names posted on the diocese website includes 19 priests and deacons who are still alive, although nearly all have been removed from ministry. One priest resigned. The list also includes 25 dead priests and six others, including religious order priests.

It posted where each of those credibly accused men once worked. The diocese reviewed files dating back to 1950.

Rhode Island is one of the most heavily Catholic states. Bishop Thomas Tobin, in a letter accompanying the list, calls its release "a difficult but necessary moment" in the history of the church.

"The publication of this list is an expression of the transparency we want to encourage, and the accountability we need to accept," he wrote.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, said in a statement that it hopes the release of this information will lead to safer, more informed communities, and that survivors will be encouraged to come forward and make a report.

SNAP asked Tobin to update the list with the full work histories of each accused priest so communities where abusers served know, and called on Rhode Island's attorney general to launch an independent investigation.

Survivors of abuse have been asking since at least 2008 for the Providence Diocese to release a list of priests accused of abuse.

The diocese reached a $14 million settlement in 2002 with 37 people who had sued over clergy sexual abuse and has settled other cases since then.

The list includes the Rev. James Silva, who was accused of abuse by several people involved in the 2002 settlement. Silva was removed from the ministry in 1993 and pleaded guilty two years later to sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man. He received a seven-year suspended sentence and was a defendant in multiple lawsuits.

Tobin was installed to lead the diocese by the Vatican in 2005.

More than 140 religious orders and Roman Catholic dioceses have released similar lists. More than 100 of those lists were either released or significantly updated since a Pennsylvania grand jury in August detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse.

Many dioceses don't name priests who were accused after their death because they can't defend themselves, though some have changed their policy for transparency. The Providence Diocese's list includes a dozen priests who died before any allegation was received, including Monsignor Anthony DeAngelis, who worked in the diocese administration and died in 1990.

Ann Hagan-Webb said that DeAngelis repeatedly molested her in West Warwick as a child and that she began recalling the abuse as an adult. She testified about what happened this year at the State House, to help persuade lawmakers to pass a bill introduced by her sister, Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, to extend the statute of limitations.

The General Assembly passed the bill last week to give victims 35 years to sue their abusers and institutions that shielded them, instead of seven and three respectively.
Associated Press writers Claudia Lauer in Philadelphia and Michelle R. Smith in Providence contributed to this report.

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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