(Reprinted from the Times Argus)
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On Thursday, the Catholic Church's Diocese of Burlington published a report listing the names of priests who, since 1950, have had a “credible and substantiated” allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against them. There are about 40 names on the list.
According to a posting on the diocese's website, all but one of the alleged acts took place more than 20 years ago. None of the priests are still active and most are dead.
Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, of the Burlington diocese, said until Thursday, “the scope of all of this has been our 'family secret.'”
“We often talk about the church as a family, as a community of faith in which we are brothers and sisters in our love for God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are supposed to be a people of love, a place of hope, and a community of healing. But that is not always the case. This is especially true with the significant number of cases involving the sexual and physical abuse of children by clergy, not just here in Vermont, but in the entire Church. These 'sins of the past' continue to haunt us,” Coyne wrote.
Coyne wrote about what he had done to bring the information to the public and what he plans for the future.
“In addition to confronting the sins of the past, we must remain vigilant in ensuring these sins do not occur in the future. I have listened to the stories of victims of clergy sexual abuse and will continue to do so. They need to hear over and over again that we believe them. They also need to know that we are doing everything we humanly can to make sure this does not happen again,” Coyne wrote.