Calif. Diocese Names 15 Accused PriestsJan 12, 2004 | www./abclocal.go.com
The Roman Catholic Church publicly named 15 priests in the Orange County diocese who have been accused of sexually abusing children.
A 16th priest, now deceased, was not identified, which the church said was at the victim's request.
Of the 15 named Saturday, 11 had been identified in news articles about sexual misconduct by priests.
Church officials said 47 children in the county have been molested by priests since 1976. They also noted that the 16 accused priests represent less than 3 percent of the 589 priests who have served in the diocese since then.
John Manly, a lawyer for some local victims, said he believes the number of priests who have molested children is higher and their names should also be disclosed.
The priests were named as part of a national study tracking sexual abuse in the church. It is scheduled to be released Feb. 27.
Many of the priests are accused of sexual misconduct that occurred decades ago and cannot be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired.