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San Jose Catholic Church Holds Final Meeting For Sexual Abuse Victims

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- The Catholic Church in San Jose has been the center of a sex scandal and a decades-long cover-up.

Leaders of the church held their third and final meeting for sexual abuse survivors and members of the community to discuss the scandal at Santa Teresa Church in South San Jose on Wednesday.

Cameras weren't allowed inside the meeting out of respect for the dozens of victims who came and shared painful experiences, which they say still haunt them.

"For so many years, the Catholic Church has swept some of this under the carpet. And I think it's horrific," said parishioner Joann Caravalho.

By mid-October, Bishop Patrick McGrath has promised to release the names of priests and church personnel who have been either criminally convicted of abuse, have admitted that the allegations against them were are true or have been involved in a case in which there is sufficient evidence supporting the accusation--even if it was never prosecuted.

The Diocese of San Jose has been reviewing allegations of abuse dating back to its formation in 1981, when it split from the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

It has also hired an outside firm to conduct an independent review of those files, but parishioners remain skeptical.

"There have been instances where there have people who have been deeply hurt and injured and violated by individuals who are in positions of authority in the church," said Father Jon Pedigo of the Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.

"I think regardless if they're a priest or not, they should be treated like anybody else who would be guilty of a crime like that," said Caravalho.

Bishop McGrath says he knows that this process may reopen old wounds, but he hopes that it will also help victims heal from their abuse.

"I learned a lot, and it is, to me, a very good beginning," said McGrath.

The Diocese of San Jose says that they hope to release the report from the independent investigators by the end of the year.

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