Lansing diocese releases names of accused priests, urges victims to come forward

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– After years of calls for transparency and accountability, Lansing Catholic diocese shares with the public what it knows about the priests and the accusations against them.

The 17 priests named in the report make up less than three percent of the total number that have come through this diocese since the 1930’s. But that small group has already impacted dozens of church members in that time, and the bishop is now trying to find a way for those members to come forward and heal.

“My first response is just I’m sorry,” Bishop Earl Boyea says. “All I can do is apologize, you know. It happened before my time, but I just, I feel the pain they experienced, and I can only apologize for that.”

This apology comes with more transparency, something victims have demanded for years.

Here’s what we know.

The diocese found more than 70 credible allegations of sexual abuse by priests against minors in the church since 1937. Those claims involve 17 priests, all of whom are either dead or no longer with the ministry. The report shows when each priest joined and left the diocese, and where they served.

Church leaders hope the list of names will bring some peace to the victims and encourage others to come forward about their experiences.

“I really want to know. I want to know if there’s anyone else out there who’s been abused and for them to come forward,” Boyea says. “Hopefully this is an occasion to do this.”

Boyea says he understands that releasing these names will not solve all of the church’s problems. But he’s hoping that this will at least be a step in the right direction.

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