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Sex abuse victims demand Archdiocese of New York release names of all accused clerics

The push for more transparency comes as Pope Francis convenes a worldwide meeting of bishops to discuss the abuse crisis.

Sexual abuse survivors Jeanne Marron, left, and Monica

Sexual abuse survivors Jeanne Marron, left, and Monica Perez Jimenez, right, hug before a press conference in Manhattan Thursday during which they and their attorneys demanded accountability from Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Archdiocese of New York. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

A pair of women who say they suffered sexual abuse at the hands of people associated with the Archdiocese of New York demanded Cardinal Timothy Dolan release the names of anyone who has been accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

The demand comes as other archdioceses, including Brooklyn on Friday, have publicly released names of priests who have been accused of sexually abusing a child, and on the same day Pope Francis convened a meeting to address clergy child sexual abuse.

"I do this today to make sure that not another little girl goes through what I went through," said Monica Perez-Jimenez, 56, who said she suffered sexual misconduct as a freshman at the Loyola School on the Upper East Side in 1976. "It was a terrorizing of myself and other children."

Jeanne Marron, 56, said she was sexually assaulted by a brother with a religious order starting when she was in high school in the late '70s in upstate Schenectady, and continuing during her college days at Iona College. Marron said she tried to report the abuse to the Archdiocese of New York in 2012 but received only platitudes in response.

"I was called and told that I could not meet with the cardinal and that the report was not really accepted among their data and 'thanks for letting us know,'" Marron said. Her abuser "operated out of the Archdiocese of New York for years upon years, assaulting kids here — I'm one of them, there's many others," she said.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said in an email that the archdiocese "consistently" releases names of priests who are found to have "credible and substantiated" abuse allegations against them.

"First and foremost, the names of any cleric — bishop, priest, or deacon — alleged to have committed an act of abuse have been shared with the district attorneys who serve the 10 counties of the archdiocese, and they have now been shared with the attorney general of the state of New York. Any new allegation of abuse against a bishop, priest, deacon, or lay employee of the archdiocese is immediately shared with the district attorney, so that they might determine if there is a prosecutable crime," Zwilling said.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who hosted the news conference on Thursday, claims Dolan keeps secret the identities of offenders that he knows have been credibly accused.

"We also have good reason to know or believe that the actual number that he and they hold in their possession of clerics that have violated children in the Archdiocese of New York are in the hundreds... And the calculated and conscious choice... to continue to hold and keep this secret is dangerous and not only fails to protect the kids from further harm, it also prevents the survivors of so many offenders from feeling like there is anything that is being done and causing them further harm," Anderson said. 

Zwilling also said that any punitive action taken by the archdiocese is well publicized.

"When a bishop, priest, or deacon is removed from an assignment following an accusation of abuse, the parish community is notified, and a story is published in Catholic New York, the archdiocesan newspaper. If the allegation is found to be substantiated by our review board, parishioners of the priest or deacon’s former assignments are also notified, always with a request that people contact their district attorney to report any criminal behavior, as well as our Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program and Victims Assistance Coordinator so that we might also offer our support and help," Zwilling said.

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