MOBILE, AL (AP) - Roman Catholic church offices in Alabama and Mississippi will publicly release the names of clergy members accused of sexually abusing minors over decades, church leaders said.
A statement from Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile said each of the four Catholic dioceses in the two states will report the names of people who were removed from ministry after being accused of abuse.
Diocese offices are in Birmingham, Alabama, plus Jackson and Biloxi in Mississippi, and the archdiocese is in Mobile.
The Mobile office will release names involved in accusations dating back to 1950, Rodi said. He did not say when the list would be made public.
"It is a time-consuming effort to examine each clergy personnel file from the last almost seven decades. This effort is under way and will be completed as quickly as possible," Rodi said in the statement released Thursday.
The Biloxi diocese said it would forward any of its names to the office in Jackson should cases predate its 1977 founding.
"We join with all people of good will in praying for victims of abuse and earnestly urge all institutions, public and private, to shine a light of truth on a serious societal problem," a statement from Bishop Louis F. Kihneman III said.
About 86,000 people are members of Roman Catholic churches in the two states, which had 126 resident priests last year, according to an annual report released by the church office in Mobile.
In June, the Diocese of Jackson released the name of a church deacon who was accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a girl in the early 1980s.
A grand jury report released earlier this year in Pennsylvania detailed decades of abuse and cover-up in six dioceses there, alleging that more than 1,000 children had been abused through the years by about 300 priests.