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Providence diocese names 50 priests and clergy "credibly accused" of sexual abuse

Pope calls for "all out battle" against sex abuse
Pope calls for "all out battle" against sex a... 09:49

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island released the names of 50 priests and deacons who have been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing minors since 1950. According to CBS affiliate WPRI, the list, released Monday morning, carries the names of 31 deceased priests and deacons, as well as 19 who are still alive but removed from the ministry. 

The list of names was compiled by retired Rhode Island State Police Major Kevin O'Brien, who directs the diocese's Office of Compliance. According to a statement released by the diocese, O'Brien reviewed all diocese files compiled over seventy years and "employed his training and expertise as a twenty-three year State Police detective to make assessments and judgments regarding the available and developed evidence within the files."

The diocese said O'Brien "ultimately exercised his own independent, expert judgment" when deciding whether to add a name to the list.  O'Brien also worked with the Director of Outreach and Prevention and the Diocesan Review Board. 

"The publication of the list of clerics credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors in years past is a difficult but necessary moment in the life of our diocesan church," Bishop Thomas Tobin said in a video released along with the list. 

The release of the names of Rhode Island priests comes on the same day the Vatican's highest court issued a document approved by Pope Francis reiterating Catholic teaching that priests may not, under any circumstances, reveal information learned inside the confessional. The document was a response to mounting political and social pressure for priests to report details of sexual abuse of minors acquired during confessions to authorities.  

In California, a bill is being pushed through the state legislature that would require clergy members to report confessions dealing with sexual abuse, legislation which could put priest in the state to choose between breaking the law and violating their vows and the seal of confession. Seven other U.S. states carry such laws as does Ireland and two states in Australia. 

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