The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York on Friday identified 115 priests and five deacons who have been accused of sexually abusing a child in what is one of the largest disclosures that has been made by the church.
The list of clergy members joins a flood of names that have poured from dioceses and religious orders across the country in recent months as the church grapples with a scandal over its handling of abuse. Victims’ advocates had noted a conspicuous absence as the New York archdiocese, a center of gravity in the American church, held off while dozens of other bishops published the names of accused priests.
The disclosures have aided in illuminating the scope of an epidemic of sex abuse in the Catholic Church that has spurred investigations by law enforcement officials and inflamed a crisis of confidence among many of its followers.
The lists have been a major part of a broader campaign by bishops to apologize for the church’s failures as they seek to placate Catholics outraged by the scandal and brace for the findings of law enforcement investigations. The attorneys general in New York and New Jersey are among those who have initiated inquiries into clergy sex abuse.
Like other bishops, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop, has sought to strike a conciliatory tone, acknowledging the “shame that has come upon our church.”
“I write to ask forgiveness again,” Cardinal Dolan said in a letter accompanying the list on Friday, “for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.”
The archdiocese in New York is one of the largest Catholic communities in the United States, encompassing Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and several counties north of New York City. It includes an estimated 2.8 million Catholics, with nearly 300 parishes and more than 200 schools.
Victims’ advocates had urged Cardinal Dolan to name suspected abusers like bishops across the United States had done in response to an explosive grand jury report in Pennsylvania that detailed decades of allegations and intensified the tensions surrounding sex abuse that had gripped the church.
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