NORWICH, CT (WFSB) - The Diocese of Norwich released its list of 43 priests who are credibly accused of sexual abuse dating back decades.
The list categorizes the clergy members by incardinated priests of the Diocese of Norwich, priests incardinated in another diocese who served in the Diocese of Norwich, priests belonging to a religious order who served in the Diocese of Norwich, priests who served in the Diocese of Norwich who had allegations in other places but not in the Diocese of Norwich, and clergy with allegations of substance of sexual abuse of a minor.
More than half of those credibly accused were removed or reassigned from the Diocese of Norwich clergy. Thirty-four clergy members on the list have passed away.
In a letter obtained by Channel 3, the Bishop of Norwich Michael Cote, D.D. said there is currently no priest or deacon in active ministry with an allegation of substance of sexual abuse of a minor.
The Diocese of Norwich said it paid over $7 million dollars in settlements to victims over accusations of abuse by more than three dozen priests and other members of the church. The Diocese of Norwich settled nine cases.
The Bishop of Norwich Michael Cote, D.D. said settlement money was paid through insurance reimbursement, the diocesan general fund, and payments by others.
The Diocese of Norwich said it reports all allegations of abuse of minors it receives to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and to law enforcement.
“It is my hope and prayer that this effort to let the light shine on this dark chapter in the life of the Church will bring some measure of peace, healing, and acknowledgement to those who have been directly harmed and to all members of our faith community," said Bishop Michael Cote.
Channel 3 spoke with parishioners at St. Sebastian in Middletown Sunday evening. They said the transparency is a step in the right direction, but a painful one.
Brittney Blicharz of Cromwell said she is very angry.
"As a catholic, it's very disheartening, especially for the victims. I feel horrible for the victims," Blicharz said.
To read the full list, click here.