HOUSTON – The names of countless Texas priests accused of sexually abusing children could soon become public, but victims fear the list will ultimately be incomplete.
In a stunning decision, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston announced Wednesday it will release the names of all clergy “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a minor, dating back to at least 1950.
The keyword that seems to gather the most attention in the short two minute video of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo is “credible.”
“What does that mean to the Catholic church? What do you have to prove,” asked Belinda Kaylani.
Decades have since passed, but Kaylani remembers the abuse that left a lasting impression on her family. At Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Kaylani says her abuser often found ways to get closer to children.
“He was very inappropriate, extremely inappropriate and would basically ask to take us out as a family,” Kaylani said.
Once the priest gained the trust of her parents, Kaylani began seeing him for counseling at 13-years-old. Soon after, her sister began counseling as well and Kaylani says the priests advances became more deliberate.
When she finally managed to speak up about the abuse, Kaylani was advised by an attorney to not do anything.
“He said the Catholic church has a war chest of money. They will come after you and they will destroy your family,” Kaylani said.
It was a lot to expect, but Belinda thought maybe the church would hold themselves accountable someday.
The announcement heard Wednesday offered some relief, but would what it mean for people just like her?
If credible means all cases reported to police, Belinda’s abuser would not make this list. His name wouldn’t be among those dating back as far as 1950.
The question being, does it make what she has to say any less credible?
Miguel Prats is another survivor of church abuse who watched the announcement made by DiNardo and decided to speak out. While he wasn’t available for an interview, he offered this statement.
“The announcement by Cardinal DiNardo is a step in the right direction. Hopefully victims will be encouraged to call law enforcement and report abuse they may have experienced no matter how many years ago it occurred. Archbishop Gustalvo-Siller of San Antonio said he is committed to increasing accountability and transparency. Cardinal DiNardo said “less words more action.” I have hope that the bishops realize there’s no sidestepping the problems this time around. There must be REAL accountability and transparency.”
An outside consultant is being brought on to review all the files and records that all dioceses in the state must submit by the end of this coming January.