Earlier this week, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento released the names of 44 priests and two deacons who the church says it can “credibly” say abused 130 children and young adults, 25 years old or younger. Approximately 1,500 personnel records spanning seven decades were examined, starting in 1950 up to the present. The reviewers were staff of the diocese and an independent consulting firm.
Sacramento-based attorney Joseph George has represented many clergy sexual abuse victims over a period of decades. He was a clinical psychologist before attending law school, and his law practice specializes in psychological injuries, mental health malpractice and childhood sexual abuse. George believes that the diocese’s list of 46 church personnel is probably just the “tip of the iceberg.”
George says the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Boston in 2002, which the Boston Globe Spotlight team exposed, helped to change statute of limitations laws in California, allowing victims who had been abused years earlier more opportunities to report these crimes.
More recently, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released a 900 page grand jury report stating “credible” allegations against more than 300 “predator priests” throughout Pennsylvania who sexually abused more than 1,000 children dating back to the 1940s.
George says he’s hopeful, because he feels the climate has change, particularly in the wake of cases of high profile multiple sexual offenders like former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky and former movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein. He joins Insight to talk about the Sacramento list and what it could entail.