San Jose Diocese to release names in October of priests accused of abuse

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The Diocese of San Jose has released additional names of clergy accused of sexual abuse on children. 

Citing the need for reform and transparency, the Diocese of San Jose has announced steps they're taking to address clergy abuse. Among them, a plan to release the names of priests who have been accused.

Bishop Patrick McGrath says he hopes this step will help victims heal and perhaps give others the strength to come forward.

It was the 1970s when John Salberg and several others were abused at the hands of the late Reverend Joseph Pritchard of San Jose. It was 2005 when they won in court.

"Any movement in trying to clarify the situations and try to go back and fix wrongs is a move in the right direction,” Salberg said. “But wholeheartedly, it's what took so long."

Salberg adds, "It's a little bit frustrating like my word and our situation wasn't good enough to warrant this kind of investigation. It took someone from the outside, a Pennsylvania grand jury, to convince you to do this."

That Pennsylvania grand jury found the Catholic church had a longstanding pattern of concealing abuse. In response, the Diocese of San Jose has announced it's taking action.

There will be a series of listening sessions to hear from the public, an investigation conducted by a former FBI agent and a plan to release the names of every priest credibly accused of sexual assault.

Bishop Patrick McGrath says, "The only way that we can address the failed leadership of so many in the Catholic Church in the United States and around the world is for the Diocese of San Jose to do what we know is right and just."

Thomas Plante is a professor at Santa Clara University. He also sits on an advisory committee for the diocese. He says it will be important to define what a credible accusation means.

"I think the overall view is that transparency is better than not. Full disclosure is better than not. But we have to look at the nuance too,” he said.

Salberg says he's hopeful this is the change he's been waiting for. "I've been disillusioned and disappointed so many times that there's a cautious optimism that comes with that.”

The first listening session will be held September 22 at 10am at Our Lady of the Rosary Hall in Palo Alto.
There will be another October 2 at 7pm at Most Holy Trinity Parish in San Jose. And the last session will be October 17 at 3 p.m. at Santa Teresa Parish in San Jose.

The names of the accused priests will be released by mid-October.