© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
San Antonio

Archdiocese Of San Antonio To Investigate Abuse Claims Dating Back To 1950

Anti-abortion demonstrators at the State Capitol in Austin during the Rally for Life in January.

The archbishop of San Antonio announced Wednesday a list of priests in the archdiocese "credibly accused" of sexual abuse of minors will be released by Jan. 31.

Church officials said the records of priests will be reviewed back to 1950.

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller became emotional reading from a statement at a news conference at the archdiocese headquarters on West Woodlawn Avenue.

"Our people love their church,” he said. “... It is a church that will deal justly with its painful past as it looks to a hopeful future.”

Fifteen Texas Catholic dioceses are taking the same action to create a safe church environment for children and restore faith and healing among the victims of sexual abuse.  Those dioceses cover 1,320 parishes and 8.5 million Catholics.

The archbishop said he has met with some victims in the San Antonio area in the past.

"I cannot adequately express my sorrow for these survivors of clergy sexual abuse,” he said. “There are no words that can undo the wrong that was perpetrated upon them, but I believe that the release of these names will contribute to healing."

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops said in a statement it is deeply sorry that some Church leaders have, at times, failed in their responsibility to protect minors.  It said the Catholic Church throughout the United States has worked to improve protection, especially over the last fifteen years.

Church officials also said it has implemented training on how to identify, report, and prevent abuse and conducts background checks on any church or school personnel who may come into contact with a minor.

The statement from the bishops said any church official credibly accused will be removed from the ministry. It also outlined a plan to help prevent and better respond to cases of suspected abuse statewide.

The church's decision comes amid reports of a widespread pattern of abuse in the U.S., including the abuse of more than 1,000 children stretching as far back as 80 years.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org