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Bishop publishes list of Northern California clergy accused of sex abuse

A list of suspected predator priests recently released by the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento names 44 priests from the Diocese that have been accused of sexual abuse.

Posted: May 1, 2019 4:13 PM
Updated: May 1, 2019 4:25 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A list of suspected predator priests recently released by the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento names 44 priests from the Diocese that have been accused of sexual abuse. The list includes more than a dozen priests from the North State.

According to Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento, the list is based on a review of personal records of staff that spans seven decades, starting in 1950.

“This list is heartbreaking. It is a sickening and sobering account of the history of sex abuse by clergy in our diocese,” said Bishop Soto. “It is repulsive to see the evil acts that were perpetrated upon innocent children and young people entrusted to our care."

None of the accused men are currently in ministry with the diocese.

"Wow you wouldn't think that it would've happened right here," said Vince Haynie, a long-time resident of Chico, California. Haynie was shocked to learn that more than a dozen Catholic priests are on a list that includes suspected and convicted child predators.

"Obviously these men were influenced not by the Ten Commandments and there's more than that, they were influenced by another spirit," Haynie said. "I know what the bible says about Satan . . . he roams around like a roaring lion — that means Chico's not off limits and Butte County's not off limits to the demonic influence."

Father Chuck Kelly from Sacred Heart Church in Red Bluff said seeing the list affected him personally.

"It was sad to see some names of priests that I knew that I have worked with and that hurt," Kelly said.

Kelly said neighbors have already been calling and emailing him, concerned about their children and the future of Sacred Heart.

"We would like to have it black and white, and I think people want to know 'how are you going to guarantee me that my child will never be hurt,' and my answer to that is you know we live in a fallen world and we can't guarantee this will never ever happen again so what we have to do is be vigilant forever," Kelly said.

Bishop Soto struck a somewhat more hopeful tone in his letter to parishioners:

"I apologize for the sins and failures of the past," he said. "I am determined that such acts of abuse should never again occur in our diocese. I pledge to you that I and my brother priests are zealous in our efforts to ensure that our parishes and other Church ministries are safe environments for our children and young people."

Below is a map of locations where 23 men have been accused of sexual abuse in the Northstate. Some of these men worked in multiple churches, so please click the link in each description for additional information.

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