The Catholic Diocese of Columbus says it will release a list naming priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.
“The Diocese of Columbus understands that this is an important step to restore the confidence of our faithful in their Church and its clergy,” the diocese said in a statement provided to WOSU.
Columbus is the third diocese in Ohio to announce such a move in the last month, after the diocese of Youngstown and Steubenville. It says the list of names should be available "within the next few months."
“The Diocese of Columbus has procedures in place specifically designed to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests, with zero tolerance for any form of child abuse,” the diocese said. “All credible claims of child sexual abuse are immediately reported to law enforcement and/or children service agencies, and those active clergy against whom such claims have been made are immediately removed from ministry and church property pending a completion of the investigation."
The Columbus diocese oversees 106 parishes, 219 priests and a Catholic population of almost 300,000.
The Diocese of Cleveland, the largest in the state, has published a list of clerics removed over sexual abuse allegations since 2002. The Diocese of Toledo reported 46 clerics accused of sexual abuse, and lists the names of those who were dismissed or left the ministry since 1950.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati names 14 priests removed for child abuse allegations, dating back to 1998.
A recent grand jury report in Pennsylvania revealed more than 300 priests alleged to have molested more than 1,000 children. Since then, several states including New York and New Jersey have announced their own statewide investigations. Bishops in Ohio have called for a similar investigation.
The Columbus diocese is facing a lawsuit from a former student of St. Charles Preparatory School, who alleges he was molested by a teacher in the early 2000s. The man says the diocese was aware of the abuse but failed to take action.
Last year, the diocese suspended a New Albany priest over "excessive and questionable" contact with a minor. The priest later committed suicide.
The Columbus diocese said people who experienced sexual abuse by clergy or other church officials should contact law enforcement and the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator at 614-224-2251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: September 27, 11:58 a.m.