Updated 4:59 p.m.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento on Tuesday released the names of 46 clergy credibly accused of abusing more than 130 minors and young adults since 1950.
“This accounting had to be done; I need to own and atone for what happened in the Church’s name,” Bishop Jaime Soto wrote in a statement. “I have to be accountable to God and his people. That can only be done where there is transparency.”
The diocese has published the full list on its website, with information on the clergy and details on the alleged abuse. Overall, 44 priests and two permanent deacons were included.
The clergy were in churches not only in Sacramento, but also from Redding and Vacaville to Angels Camp and several local schools, including St. Francis and Jesuit high schools. The earliest report of abuse dates back to 1955, with the most recent in 2014.
No clergy accused of abuse are still with the diocese.
It is the first time the church has released such a list and it “is as complete as a list could be” at this time, according to Kevin Eckery, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento.
He says the church changed to a zero-tolerance policy in 2002 and added other measures to prevent sex offenders from other diocese from gaining access.
"If you're a priest, if you're a teacher, if you're a staffer, if you're a volunteer, you get finger-printed and background-checked before you're put around kids," he said.
Eckery says all staff must undergo training every three years, with instructors looking for anything that could indicate grooming behavior by clergy with the purpose of pursuing a sexual relationship once a child becomes an adult.
Many of the priests included in the list have died. But two of the most frequent offenders — Gerardo Beltran Rico and Francisco Javier Garcia — are still presumed alive and in hiding in Mexico. The two, along with Mario Blanco Porras, are believed responsible for 60 of the reports, nearly half the total.
Joe Piscitelli, with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the release of information is a step in the right direction for the church, but it's also too little too late.
"They should have released the names of the priests a long time ago as the accusations rolled in," Piscitelli said. "They've allowed and enabled predators to escape justice and escape criminal prosecution and escape civil lawsuits. Their list today I think is disingenuous."
Since 2002, the diocese has paid more than $50 million in sex abuse settlements, including $35 million to settle 33 claims in 2005. The church recommends anyone with a complaint file one first with law enforcement, and then with the church.
After a noon mass at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in downtown Sacramento, Catholic Wynette Sills said this is a "difficult and painful day" and a reminder that parents must be vigilant.
"I still trust in the Catholic Church, yet acknowledge the failings, shortcomings and terrible behavior of some of the human representatives within our faith,” Sills said.
The list was compiled by former FBI agent Dr. Kathleen McChesney, the founding administrator of the Office of Child Protection at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., and her consulting firm headed the examination. Investigators looked at personnel records for nearly 1,500 bishops, priests and permanent deacons.
Eckery says the church is considering the establishment of a private fund to help reimburse victims who have not yet come forward.
The diocese represents more than 1.3 million people over an area stretching from Sacramento to the Oregon border.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of instances of abuse. The diocese reported 130.
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