A national coalition of sex abuse victims is demanding District Attorney Mike Harson and Bishop Michael Jarrell to reveal the names of 15 priests who have been accused by credible people. Earlier, Jarrell, who serves as a bishop at the Diocese of Lafayette, La., declined to release the names saying that the Diocese with the help of its insurers had rewarded as much as $26 million as compensation to those that had been violated by the 15 priests. Hence, Jarrell saw no reason to release the priests’ names.
“I believe that six are now deceased, one is no longer a priest and none of the 15 is serving in ministry. They do not have an assignment and they do not celebrate Mass or perform any ministry in churches in the Diocese or elsewhere... No additional priests have been accused in recent decades. I stand by my 2004 statement: 'The Diocese knows of no act of abuse by a cleric that may have occurred since 1984,” Jarrell said in a statement on August 4.
When Harson was asked last week if he would demand, request or subpoena the list of names from the Diocese, he said that he would do so if only an abuse victim stepped forward to pursue the case.
“What an irresponsible decision by both men. We hope both men will reconsider,” said David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Clohessy believes that releasing the names will help protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. If parents know whom they need to be wary of, they will be able to protect their children better, says Clohessy.
“Another reason Jarrell should disclose the names: a dozen years ago, all U.S. bishops pledged to be 'open and transparent' in clergy sex cases. Roughly 30 U.S. bishops have posted on their websites the names of predator priests... The least Jarrell can do is disclose them,” said Clohessy.
Clohessy said if Harson obtains the names of the priests, he will probably find out one of them serves as a soccer coach and another as a school teacher currently, which means they are still capable of violating little children.
Photo Credits: Diolaf