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Catholic Diocese of Cleveland to release full list of priests removed over sexual abuse allegations

The diocese has already published the names of priests accused since 2002.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland plans release a full list of priests and other clerics who were removed from their positions due to allegations of sexual abuse, the diocese told WKYC in a statement Tuesday.

This would make Cleveland the fourth Catholic diocese in Ohio to make public such a list since a Pennsylvania grand jury report back in August that named some 300 predator priests since the 1940s. The new revelations have further rocked a church already reeling from the child sexual abuse and cover-up scandal that first came to light back in 2002.

The church later approved strict "zero-tolerance" measures to more easily remove clerics accused of abuse, and the Diocese of Cleveland has maintained its own website that contains the names of all priests removed from ministry due to abuse allegations since 2002. The site currently lists more than 20 such priests who have been accused.

However, the new list will feature the names of all removed clerics prior to 2002. The diocese is currently "reviewing information" and will publish the list "in the near future," according to Deacon Jim Armstrong. The list, similar to the Pennsylvania report, is expected to span decades.

It is unknown at this time just how many priests will be named, but a past investigation by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office could be an indication. Back in 2002, then-Prosecutor Bill Mason found credible allegations of sexual abuse against 145 priests in the Diocese of Cleveland, but the full results (including the names of the suspects) were never made public following a ruling by the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Due to the statutes of limitations, only one priest was ever arrested as a result of Mason's investigation: the Rev. Daniel McBride, who had been in active ministry in the diocese for over 50 years. Father McBride pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a 17-year-old boy at an Ohio City bar. He received three years probation and was placed on administrative leave, where he remained until his 2015 death.

The Dioceses of Youngstown, Columbus, and Steubenville all pledged last week to release the names of their own accused priests within the next few months, at most. The new Cleveland list will be added to the diocese's current website.

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