Sylvia Demarest, a Dallas, Texas attorney has compiled a list ofover 2,600 Catholic priests who have faced accusations of sexualmisconduct against children. The Dallas attorney has plans tomake this information accessible to the public via the internet asearly as the beginning of next year.
The database of alleged priest facingaccusations and other Catholic officials accused of sexualmisconduct with children will be produced from information found inpublic sources. Media reports and court filings will be the mainsource of this information. The list will be comprised of a list ofthe accused names along with the place and nature of the allegedmisconduct. This will be the first and only database of its natureon a national level.
Demarest began work on the database over 11years ago in 1993. She started by only targeting priests in theDallas area. Those who want to do research on the backgrounds ofindividual priests can use this database for their research.
Some argue that accusations are merely those,accusations. “Someone accused and found not guilty could havetheir image severely tainted verses someone who has been chargedand convicted” said, Reverend Ian Straker, assistantprofessor of church history, at the Howard University School ofDivinity.
Frederick L. Ware, assistant professor oftheology, at the Howard University School of Divinity said,”If these are simply accusations, no list should be produced,but those convicted and found guilty should be put on the listbecause it is public record. This list would make aware to thepublic the extensiveness of the problem. This list would provide agreat service to society, while forcing the churches to deal withthe problem.”
The privacy of priests is an issue that hasbeen brought to the table. This database of information makes it soeasily accessible to the world. Some students believe that a pricemust be paid for these types of actions against children.
One Howard University Master of Divinitystudent, Jasmyn Bowden said. “Yes, I believe that theirprivacy will be intruded, but there is a price that must be paidfor their actions and it is important for the public to know thisinformation for future crimes.”