Diocese hasn’t decided whether to make records public

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(Host) The Burlington Roman Catholic Diocese says it has compiled a list of all sexual abuse allegations against Vermont priests in the last 52 years under a mandate from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A spokesman says the diocese hasn’t decided yet whether to make the information public.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) Each of the nation’s 194 dioceses is required to report information going back to 1950 on how many priests have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, what the accusations were and the financial cost to the diocese. The information will be used in a national study being conducted by researchers at John Jay College in New York.

Although they’re not required to, a number of dioceses, including Washington D.C. and Baltimore, have made their findings public. The Reverend Wendall Searles of the Burlington Diocese says Vermont church officials haven’t decided yet whether they will release the information.

(Searles) “I suspect that we will give serious consideration to publicizing the findings. Probably the number of priests or church personnel who have allegations made against them, probably the number who are claiming they are victims. A figure on what has happened financially with this.”

(Zind) Searles says the diocese would not release the information before the end of February, when the findings of the national study will be made public. While the Burlington Diocese has reported its findings to researchers, Catholic Bishops meeting in Washington were told this week that nearly a fifth of the dioceses have yet to report. The deadline is next week.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Steve Zind.

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