Reaction pours in after Diocese releases clergy abuse report

One day after the Diocese of Providence released its bombshell report naming 50 priests and deacons credibly accused of abuse against minors, reaction is pouring in from lawmakers, lawyers, and even former priests.

The investigations were conducted by a former State Police detective who was able to investigate each account independently, according to the Diocese website.

After the report was released, Bishop Tobin said the church is being as transparent as possible, but some believe the church is hiding something.

Robert Hoatson is a former priest and now president of the New Jersey-based victim advocacy group Road to Recovery. As a victim of clergy abuse himself, and with knowledge of the workings of the church, he claims that Bishop Tobin is hiding some crucial information from the public.

He calls this information “the secret files”, claiming that each Bishop has access to complete files related to claims of abuse, in accordance with church law, Hoatson said.

“Bishop Tobin did not publish any of the information that we need. The files, the details, the names and information of each and every priest named in that list [Monday] is crucial,” Hoatson said, as he donned signs outside the Diocese. “We are not satisfied with the list that was published [Monday].”

The report names 50 priests and deacons, with 17 that are still alive. But in court documents from 2007, the church said they were aware of 125 allegations of priests within the jurisdiction.

The list was released just hours before Gov. Raimondo signed a bill into law that extends the statute of limitations for victims.

That law’s sponsor is Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Narragansett, South Kingstown) who said that the report does not say how many victims each priest had, as well as leaving out information that she calls a safety issue.

“Unless they’re dead, it really doesn’t tell you where they [live] now. So I think that’s important information, especially for parents to have,” McEntee said.

McEntee agrees with Hoatson, saying that there should be more names on the list.

“It doesn’t jive with the 125 priests that they revealed that they knew of in 2007,” she said.

Mitchell Garabedian is a prominent lawyer for victims of clergy abuse. He tells ABC 6 by phone that the report has gaping holes.

“A sanitized version of a bigger report which is being hidden by the Diocese of Providence,” Garabedian said. “Pacify the public to appear to be doing the right thing when in fact it’s just hiding the truth.”

ABC 6 reached out to the Diocese of Providence to see if there was any other pertinent information some groups are requesting, including what Hoatson refers to as “the secret files.”

A spokesperson released the following statement:

In the wake of the publication of the list of credibly accused clergy, it is important to be accurate and fair.  Monday’s disclosures were the result of a complete and thorough review of seventy years of diocesan files by a veteran law enforcement expert of unquestionable integrity and experience who was allowed to exercise his independent and skilled judgement without interference or review.  It is our complete list.  Additionally, for over twenty years every allegation received – regardless of credibility – has been reported to law enforcement.