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Lafayette bishop won't say whether he'll release names of accuse - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Lafayette bishop won't say whether he'll release names of accused priests; dozens of U.S. dioceses already do

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette

Dozens of Roman Catholic dioceses around the U.S. have released the names of priests who sexually abused minors, but the Diocese of Lafayette has so far opted against the practice — and the bishop has declined to say whether he plans to do so in the future.

The recent announcement of a sexual-abuse investigation into St. Landry Parish priest Michael Guidry has reignited calls to the Diocese of Lafayette — including from survivors of such sexual abuse — to release the names of abusive priests from the area.

Past Bishop Michael Jarrell said in 2004 the diocese paid more than $26 million in settlements because 15 diocesan priests sexually abused 123 people. The names of some of those priests have been released through now-unsealed records from the diocese's lawsuit against its insurer — a case over how much the insurance company would pay for the claims. But the diocese has never disclosed the names on its own.

At a press conference last week announcing the Guidry investigation, Bishop Douglas Deshotel was asked whether he would commit to releasing the names, but he wouldn't say one way or another.

“I don’t know. I’d have to find out who's dead, who's on the list, who's not a priest anymore...If I knew of someone who was, who had been credibly accused, should not be — will not be — serving as a priest in the diocese,” Deshotel said.

More than three dozen dioceses have disclosed such names to the public, usually on a dedicated page on their website.

KATC presented this list of disclosures to the diocese and again asked whether Deshotel plans to release these names. We also asked for a reason why he would or wouldn't release the list, as he's stated that it's his "policy to be very transparent and open to the media."

Through spokesperson Blue Rolfes, the bishop declined to readdress the question.

"I’ve spoken with the Bishop and he asked me to reiterate the point made in the news release and at the news conference, and that is that no further information will be released until the investigation is completed," Rolfes said in an email.

Dioceses around the U.S. release the names of abusive priests

BishopAccountability.org tracks sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and they keep a running list of dioceses that have released the names of accused priests. The list below is based on their tracking. Some of the links point back to cached versions of a diocesan-released list stored at BishopAccountability.org, as some dioceses posted their lists to their websites but later deleted them.

Dioceses that release the names of clergy involved in sexual-abuse cases:

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