Church names 29 men accused of misconduct in south Alabama

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Almost 30 priests, deacons and other men have been “credibly accused” of sexual misconduct in south Alabama dating back to 1950, the Roman Catholic Church said Thursday as it released their names.Statements released along with a letter from Archbishop Thomas Rodi Jr. show that of 29 men suspected of wrongdoing, 17 are dead and 12 others are prohibited from ministry.

The names on the lists include those of priests, deacons and members of religious orders. Names of suspected abusers have been shared with state and local prosecutors, said Rodi’s letter, and no one credibly accused of misconduct is currently ministering in the region.

The names include those of a one-time Air Force chaplain; a former director of youth ministry; men who worked at Catholic schools; and one who worked at a boys home. The church statements did not include key information, such as exactly when or where alleged misconduct happened, nor did they describe what had occurred.

The accusations involved about 2 percent of the 457 priests who have served in the archdiocese in the last 68 years, Rodi said.

The church “has at times failed to act as it should have to immediately protect children and to promptly remove those who have preyed upon them,” Rodi said.

“To all the people of the Church, and especially to the victims of child sexual abuse by clergy and religious, I ask for your forgiveness. From the depths of my heart, I ask your forgiveness,” said the letter.

The archdiocese office in Mobile released the names as the Roman Catholic church grapples with allegations of sexual abuse. Church offices in Mississippi have said they plan to release similar lists.

About 287,000 people are members of Roman Catholic churches in the two states, which had 424 resident priests last year, according to numbers submitted to the 2017 Official Catholic Directory by the four diocese offices in Alabama and Mississippi.