Members of an advisory board that investigates allegations of sexual misconduct in the Catholic Diocese of Yakima are recommending that the bishop post the names of clergy facing credible allegations of abuse.
Bishop Joseph J. Tyson, who has the final say, is open to it, said Monsignor Robert Siler, chancellor with the Diocese of Yakima.
Members of the Diocesan Lay Advisory Board, which meets quarterly, discussed Thursday whether the diocese should post on its website the names of clergy who have served here and have had credible allegations of sex abuse of a minor made against them.
“The board is recommending that the Diocese publish a list on (its) website of clergy who have been credibly accused of abuse of minors, and Bishop (Joseph) Tyson is open to that,” Siler said.
Board members plan to have another discussion so that all involved are clear on how the diocese defines a credible accusation.
“Before we make a decision on listing names, we want to be sure of our criteria and make the list as comprehensive as possible, based on clear and consistent criteria,” Siler said. “We can give help to victims and be transparent, but (also) be sure that we are not publishing the name of a priest where no abuse occurred.”
The two other dioceses in Washington, Seattle and Spokane, publish names of cleric sex abusers on their websites. The Archdiocese of Seattle posted a list of 77 names of offending priests in January 2016, and several more names have since been added.
After declaring bankruptcy in 2004, the Spokane Diocese agreed to post 30 names of accused clergy as part of its bankruptcy agreement.
Members of the Yakima Diocese advisory board will meet again in about a month to continue discussion of such an effort here.
They are chair Russ Mazzola, a Yakima attorney; Jorge Torres, a psychologist; Tom Dittmar, who has a background in law enforcement; Dr. Mark Maiocco, a physician; Monsignor John Ecker, pastor at St. Paul Cathedral; and Elizabeth Torres, an environmental health-project coordinator.
Once they meet again and everyone involved has had a chance to go over everything, “I would think in a month or two after that we would publish something,” Siler said.
“I would shoot for no later than June 30,” he said.