A ProPublica project called Credibly Accused provides a searchable database of Catholic priests who, like the name suggests, have been identified as alleged abusers. Not every church or diocese has released lists of names, but many have, and there are over 6,000 names in the database.
ProPublica’s president writes in a newsletter that there is power to combining the lists from many locations. Some clergy were quietly transferred from one place to another, but here you can search by name and see people from all parts of the country.
The database includes 178 dioceses (groups of churches) and orders, with a combined 64.7 million members. Another 41 dioceses and orders, serving 9 million Catholics, have not released lists. On the tool’s homepage, you can see which groups have and have not released lists of names.
I grew up going to Catholic churches, and I learned from a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report that several of the priests I knew as a kid had been credibly accused of sexual abuse. I checked ProPublica’s database; those names were in there, although the church and parish names didn’t show up. They were correctly attributed to the diocese of Pittsburgh, though.
“The impact on a survivor of seeing his abuser’s name published is profound,” Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability.org says in the newsletter. “It gives validation. It instantly transfers much of his burden of shame and self-blame to the perpetrator, where it belongs.” If there’s a name that stands out to you from your own childhood, consider perhaps looking it up.