The Most Rev. Ronald Gainer, the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., discusses child sexual abuse by clergy and a decision by the diocese to remove names of bishops going back to the 1940s after concluding they did not respond ad
The Most Rev. Ronald Gainer, the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., discusses child sexual abuse by clergy and a decision by the diocese to remove names of bishops going back to the 1940s after concluding they did not respond ad

A Roman Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania has released a list of more than 70 of its clergy members accused of child abuse dating back decades.

Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer also announced changes to confidentiality policies and said the names of anyone accused of abuse, as well as the bishops who led the church for the past 70 years, would be stripped from all church properties.

Gainer also apologized to those who were abused, the parishioners and the community, and expressed his "profound sorrow.''

He said the diocese would release a list of every allegation made in recent decades that had not been proved false. He said no one on the list was currently in the ministry.

Second diocese to release findings

With its announcement, the Harrisburg diocese became the second of six dioceses under investigation by the state to get out in front of a pending grand jury report on clergy sex abuse. The Erie diocese released its own findings on clergy abuse in April.

Gainer said the list includes 37 priests, three deacons and six seminarians from the diocese, nine clergy members from other dioceses and 16 from religious communities. Most of the allegations date from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.

New procedures

The church is adopting a series of new procedures to deal with complaints and to help protect against future abuses, the bishop said.

All new complaints will be immediately forwarded to local authorities, and the church will require all workers, including volunteers, to undergo a background check.

The other dioceses investigated are in Pittsburgh and Greensburg in the western part of the state, and Allentown and Scranton in the east. They collectively minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics.