LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has received 26 more allegations of clergy abuse one month after the diocese released a list of clergy members who have had credible allegations against them of sexually abusing minors.
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor announced the additional complaints in a letter to church members Tuesday, the AP reports. The diocese released a preliminary list in September that identified 12 priests accused of abuse who served in Arkansas.
The Little Rock diocese’s internal review came in the wake of a grand jury report in August documenting seven decades of child sexual abuse by hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania.
“I had hoped that the release of the names of those priests known to have abused minors might enable any as-yet-unknown victims to come forward to share their story and receive help, and this has in fact occurred,” Taylor wrote in the letter this week.
Most of the recent allegations were made against priests already listed in last month’s report and none of the allegations were against “priests who are currently in active ministry in Arkansas,” Taylor said.
Taylor added that the new reports concern events that occurred before 2002.
The church hasn’t thoroughly investigated the allegations yet, but those who filed the complaints have been offered assistance, according to Taylor.
The bishop said that the Little Rock diocese is also cooperating with the attorney general’s office, which is reviewing the church’s handling of allegations since 2002.
An independent assessment of the diocese’s files by an outside consulting firm is set to begin Nov. 9, he said.