The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has named 57 priests accused of sexual abuse since 1950 who have been either removed from the ministry or have died.
"We went through files and looked at them and made a determination that these priests have credible allegations against them,” said Bishop Robert Cunningham, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.
Cunningham says release of these names was voluntary, despite a lawsuit demanding New York dioceses publicize the names.
"Once we had decided that, I talked to the diocese and review board, to our own council of priests, telling them I was considering changing my mind and publishing a list,” he said.
Victims who spoke with Spectrum News say the move makes them feel validated.
"Seeing the list, yes, it does give some vindication to the naysayers who say, ‘No, not my priest.’ I mean, I have people come up to me and say, ‘I was an altar boy under Thomas and he didn’t abuse me.’ And I say, ‘Well, kiss the ground it didn’t happen to you,” said Charles Bailey, who was 10 years old when he was abused by a Syracuse priest.
Bailey says the abuse started in 1961, and lasted two years.
"I finally told my wife Memorial [Day] Weekend 2002. I kept it to myself, I lived with it every day. It just ate me up for 40-something years,” he said. “And I just broke down and started bawling like a baby.”
The church says no priests in active ministry are involved in the claims. The bishop hopes the list furthers the healing process.
"If we want the church to move forward, bring healing to victims, if we want to bring transparency to our undertakings, if we want to rebuild trust on the part of our people, I thought it was important to release the names,” said Cunningham. "People were harmed, abused. It's affected them for their whole life. Priests who had dedicated their lives to the Lord have failed miserably.”