Santa Rosa Diocese releases names of 39 clergy it believes were child sex abusers

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Survivors of clergy sexual abuse say new victims and allegations are coming to light, with the release of abusers identities in Santa Rosa. 

On Monday, 39 names of of accused pedophile priests were disclosed by Santa Rosa Diocese Bishop Robert Vasa, which stretches from Sonoma County to the Oregon border. 

"I feel tremendous sadness, grief, shame and honestly a raging anger," Vasa said at a news conference. 

But Vasa refused to second-guess how those cases were handled by higher-ups at the time of the abuse. 

The lists are being offered by Catholic orders around the country, largely as a response to a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania that revealed continuing child sexual abuse and widespread cover-up in the church. 

"This is a wake up call, we need to re-double our efforts, we need to show the people in the pews we are serious," declared Vasa.  

His curated list of 39 names, includes those "credibly accused." Only a few were prosecuted, although the church paid settlements on some. None are still in ministry, and most have died. There are at least 100 victims.  

"We release these names for the victims, those who have come forward, and those who have not found their voice," said Vasa, "and we hear you, we believe you, we want to help you."

Oakland and San Francisco diocese leaders are preparing their own lists for eventual disclosure. 

"These lists are having the unintended effect of bringing out more victims," said Joey Piscitelli, a Northern California leader for SNAP, the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests. 

Piscitelli was molested for two years by clergy at his parochial school in Richmond.

He was 13 years old, and rebuffed when he tried to tell, but decades later won vindication in court.      

Santa Rosa's roster, he says, isn't even close to complete.  

"Our list is 53 and growing, we've gained two or three more priests in the last 24 hours," he said.

Piscitelli points to law firms using public records to compile hundreds of names of disgraced clergy around the Bay Area.

Critics say diocesan lists are more a public relations ploy than actual disclosure.    

"What we want is true transparency," Piscitelli told KTVU, "and we want the names of all the clergy involved and all the Bishops who transferrred and enabled and hid them."   

Among Santa Rosa's most high-profile offenders: Father Don Kimball, a youth minister who allegedly preyed on boys and girls, and was convicted in 2002 of fondling a teenage girl many years before.
Kimball received prison time, but not nearly enough, said his victims who attended his trial. 

Four men on Sant Rosa's list are responsible for more than 60 victims themselves.  

Yet, even as the Diocese releases information, it rejects the suggestion the Catholic Church has a pedophilia problem.   

"There is not a greater percentage in the priesthood than in any other religious community or any other group of professional men or women,"  Vasa insisted.