ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46)- A four-page list was quietly dropped on Election Day when eyes were clearly directed elsewhere.
In it were 15 clergy, identified by the Archdiocese of Atlanta, as 'credibly accused' of the sexual abuse of minors, dating back more than 60 years to today.
Our analysis found 10 of those priests were at some point removed. Others appear to have died without noted punishment, and some appear to have been moved around from parish to parish without explanation.
One was moved 16 times almost yearly. Another was moved twice before being removed from the church in 1992.
Aaron King of Pennsylvania says he was 16-years-old when he stayed with family one summer in Gwinnett County. He claims one of the now identified priests sexually assaulted and molested him at a local parish.
"It happened in 1998," said King. "He forced me to the ground and had his way with me, and told me if I told anyone I was going to rot in hell; no one would believe me."
Speaking exclusively with us recently, he says the abuse began just two months after the priest was ordained. He spoke with us again today by phone, reacting to the release of the names.
"Vindicated. I feel like, all the pain, suffering, emotional turmoil that I've gone through since 1998... people that didn’t want to believe this happened... now they know it happened."
He says he was contacted two days ago about the list's impending release by the church's victims advocate. He says it comes nearly 10 years after he shared his accusations with church officials at length. He claims he was told in those interviews, his accusations were credible and five other boys made similar claims.
We've made repeated attempts to locate and talk to the priest accused by King. We've been unsuccessful.
We were also unsuccessful at getting answers from the Archdiocese today. Our request for an interview with the Archbishop wasn't granted.
And we didn’t have much luck when we showed up in person.
Tuesday night, the Archdiocese released a written statement saying:
"The Archdiocese of Atlanta is committed to the protection of minors, as well as to compliance with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. In a spirit of transparency and the hope of continued healing for the survivors of abuse, I have decided to release the list of the priests, deacons, seminarians and religious credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The list below was compiled from the best information available to us at this time, and covers the period from the establishment of the Diocese of Atlanta in 1956 (we became an archdiocese in 1962) until now.
The list is divided into three parts:
- Priests and others under the direct authority of the Archdiocese of Atlanta where a credible allegation of sexual abuse has been made involving conduct within the Archdiocese
- Priests and others under the direct authority of a Religious Order, but assigned to the Atlanta Archdiocese where a credible allegation of sexual abuse has been made involving conduct within the Archdiocese
- Priests and others where the Archdiocese of Atlanta has not received an allegation of sexual abuse regarding conduct within the Archdiocese, but where a credible allegation of sexual abuse has been made against them elsewhere
The list of credibly accused clergy has been prepared based on the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Review Board, which is composed of members who are laypersons and not in the employ of the archdiocese. This board serves to advise the diocesan/eparchial bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors as well as in his determination of a cleric’s suitability for ministry following an allegation of abuse. It also assists in reviews of diocesan/eparchial policies and procedures for dealing with sexual abuse of minors.
The list below will be updated if new credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor are determined.
Along with the publication of this information, I also renew my apology for the damage that young lives have suffered and the profound sorrow and anger that our families have endured. It is a response in faith that must accompany this listing."
† Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory
November 6, 2018
Click here to view the names identified by the Archbishop.