The following is from a statement by Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, regarding steps the Diocese of Santa Rosa is taking to release names of priests accused of sexual abuse:
I have been reviewing files [related to child sexual abuse] for the past month and have established what I believe to be a complete list of all of the accused. Now I must determine if there is some legal reason why I would be prohibited from releasing certain names on that list. There is a strong tendency to use the word ‘cover-up’ in regard to the due diligence which I am trying to exercise. I have no desire to cover up anything.
My desire is to release all of the names but what I want to do and what others may want me to do is not necessarily the same as what should be done or what the law allows me to do. What I can say now is that none of the priests on the list is involved in any active Church ministry. All of them are deceased, laicized or permanently removed from ministry.
It is precisely to help me discern the release of certain records that I have added two additional members to the Diocesan Review Board: Honorable Charlotte Walter Woolard, Retired Judge of the California Superior Court and Honorable Daniel (Mike) Hanlon, Retired Justice of the California Court of Appeal. I have had an initial discussion with them about the priests accused and plan on additional conversations with them. Sometimes the determination that a name can and should be released is easy. Sometimes this is not so easy.
While concern for the healing of a victim can be and is a very strong consideration it is not the only consideration. I want any victim to know that I take their allegation very seriously and yet, at the same time, I want to follow the law. State law regarding the confidentiality of employee records (which includes priests) is very important. I cannot act in a way which, even with very good intentions, violates that law.
Full story at Santa Rosa Catholic.