NEWARK, NJ — Quiet outbursts of disbelief and shock reverberating across New Jersey on Wednesday among Catholic parishioners, as they go through these lists of 188 names.
They are the priests and deacons that the state’s five Catholic dioceses say have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a child over multiple decades.
“This list of names is the result of an extensive review of archdiocesan records dating back to the 1940s,” said Cardinal Joseph Tobin. “All names have been previously reported to the law enforcement agencies.”
Cardinal Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark named 63 priests and deacons.
One in particular, Alan Guglielmo, served in various churches in Jersey City — where among the hundreds of parishioners are Filipinos.
“No member of the clergy with a credible allegation of a minor remains in ministry. No one. It is our sincerest hope that this disclosure will help bring healing to those whose lives have been deeply violated.”
The release of names comes as the state’s attorney general investigates sexual abuse claims against priests. The AG is also looking into whether the Catholic Church improperly handled the abuse allegations.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement that while the release of the lists is a positive first step towards transparency and accountability, he hopes the openness continues as they continue to investigate.
Some are also still skeptical that the church is being truly transparent especially when it comes to naming all the priests who have been accused.
Robert Hoatson was a priest, and now an advocate for abused victims. He said he, too, was a clergy sex abuse victim.
“The only way I think we’re gonna get the number is when law enforcement gets all the files, does professional investigations of those files and then say oh wait a minute this is the number. Of credibly accused priests that we believe through our professional studies determined that they are pedophiles or abusers.”
On Monday, all five New Jersey dioceses unveiled the compensation fund to pay settlements with alleged victims in exchange for not filing the lawsuits against the church.
Father. Roy Legaspi said these are all necessary steps towards healing.
“Although it is discouraging, it is frustrating sometimes. But we should always be reminded that the priest and the community that this is our church.”
The Attorney General’s task force has set up a hotline for alleged victims to report abuse: 855-363-6548.