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Church in Crisis

Web site provides database of alleged abusive priests

A leader of a Boston-area reform advocacy group is operating a Web site that names priests alleged to have committed sexual abuse of minors, according to a Sept. 16 Boston Herald report.

With a few exceptions thus far, the site provides names of local or regional alleged offenders. Paul Baier, spokesperson for Voice of the Faithful and operator of the site, told the paper he hopes eventually to provide a national database of perpetrators.

While he is updating the Web site independently, he said he intends it to be incorporated into the site of a victims advocacy group such as Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The site, survivorsfirst.org, includes three categories: priests facing legal action, priests taken out of parishes by their bishop, and those who have been involved in legal settlements.

Many people in parishes have expressed support for the site, according to the Herald, because it will allow them to find out if a newly arrived priest has been charged with abuse.

The paper said that site organizers are considering including the names of priests accused but who have yet to face action by prosecutors or their diocese. Organizers are further planning to someday provide information on bishops who supervised abusive priests, and have begun compiling the names of local priests who have been falsely accused.

-- Gill Donovan

National Catholic Reporter, September 27, 2002