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‘Necessary reckoning’ - Sacramento Catholic diocese to publish list of accused clergy, bishop says

‘The letter was stupid and naive.’ Bishop Soto’s regret for supporting convicted priest

In 1986, then-auxiliary bishop Jaime Soto wrote a letter of support for his former classmate Chris Andersen after he was convicted on 26 felony counts of child molestation. Now, as bishop of the Sacramento Diocese, Soto talks about his regrets.
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In 1986, then-auxiliary bishop Jaime Soto wrote a letter of support for his former classmate Chris Andersen after he was convicted on 26 felony counts of child molestation. Now, as bishop of the Sacramento Diocese, Soto talks about his regrets.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento will release a list this week naming priests and deacons determined to have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, Bishop Jaime Soto said in a letter Sunday.

“The list will account for our history of sexual abuse over the last seven decades and is a necessary reckoning for our local Church,” Soto wrote. “I am repulsed and heartbroken by the evil acts that were perpetrated upon the innocent by those entrusted with their care. When you read the list you will experience your own feelings of shock, anger and disgust. This undoubtedly will reopen wounds for some.”

No further information was immediately available regarding the upcoming Sacramento list, and there was no indication of how many clergy members would be named.

The diocese in October postponed releasing a list of names while an independent auditor reviewed more than 2,000 personnel files.

The list’s publication comes as dioceses and archdioceses across the nation have publicly named accused clergy members.

The Jesuit West Province also released a list last December of accused priests, which included 11 who had been assigned to three Sacramento-area schools: Jesuit High School in Carmichael, St. Ignatius of Loyola or St. Elizabeth’s Church.

The archdiocese of New York released a list last Friday of 115 priests and five deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, as reported by The New York Times. Baltimore’s archdiocese last week published the names of 23 dead clergy members who had been credibly accused of child sex abuse.

“The pain and suffering of the victims from the betrayal and loss of innocence has continued for decades and will never go away,” Soto’s letter continued. “So too should our prayers never cease for God’s mercy and healing upon these victims.”

“Our work follows the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002 which greatly reduced the frequency of these sins,” Soto wrote. “However, even one such event is one too many. We are determined to remain vigilant.”

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.

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