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Arkansas volunteer with 'SNAP' comments on abuse claims from 12 former Little Rock clergy

Arkansas volunteer with 'SNAP' comments on abuse claims from 12 former Little Rock clergy (MGN Photo)

Twelve former Arkansas clergy have been listed by the Diocese of Little Rock as having credible allegations of sexually abusing minors against them.

More than half of the clergy on this list are no longer alive, but the bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock felt that it was necessary to share all 12 of these names.

Bill Lindsey’s first reaction came slightly from relief.

"At last, they have taken that step," the volunteer with the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said.

At last, according to Lindsey, the Diocese of Little Rock has formally released a list of 12 former clergy with credible allegations that they sexually abused minors.

It comes in the wake of a sweeping grand jury report on clergy abusing children in Pennsylvania.

"Too much has been forced out through legal duress rather than by the direct choice of church officials."

In a corresponding statement regarding the list's release, Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock said, "In the wake of the recent scandals in the church, I have decided to provide an accounting of cases here in Arkansas and how these allegations have been handled locally –- Because it is simply the right thing to do..."

"My policy is one of transparency, and when it became obvious that people wanted to know the information about how cases of sexual abuse of minors are handled in Arkansas, I took the steps in order to provide that information," Bishop Taylor said.

"If it was the right thing to do,” Lindsey said, “It was the right thing to do before the Pennsylvania stories broke."

"Any individuals associated with the church who have been accused of committing these sort of acts against children, we'll be investigating those," Leslie Rutledge, attorney general for the state of Arkansas, said.

The diocese said they are cooperating with Rutledge's office.

The scope of their investigation will be wider than just these 12 names, according to Rutledge.

"We will be going beyond that information,” she said, “Looking into any individuals who may have committed acts against children and who reported those acts to the church and how the church handled it."

Although Lindsey is pleased this is being investigated, he only wishes it happened sooner.

"Why do we have to wait for this kind of information to dribble out only after disclosures like that?" Lindsey asked.

Bishop Taylor also said in that statement that, "This list is being published in the interest of transparency and to bring the truth into the light."

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