Attorney for abuse survivors calls for probe of San Diego Diocese
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – An attorney who represents survivors of clergy sexual abuse is calling for an investigation of the San Diego Diocese. San Diego attorney Irwin Zalkin held a news conference on Thursday, accusing the diocese of trying to hide information about abusive priests.
In August, the Pennsylvania Attorney General released a grand jury report that found more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses had been victimized by priests in cases dating back to 1947.
Following the disclosures in Pennsylvania, the San Diego Diocese in September released a list of 51 priests in the San Diego and San Bernardino dioceses who had been credibly accused of abuse. However, Zalkin told reporters that he knows of at least 10 to 12 priests who abused children but are not included on the list.”
We have clients that have been calling us since this list has come out and have been telling us, ‘Hey, my priest is not on this list.’ This is what happened to me,” Zalkin said.
The attorney who negotiated a nearly $200 million settlement on behalf of 144 abuse survivors in 2007 believes the San Diego Diocese destroyed past records of predator priests and is continuing to cover up the broader scope of the clergy abuse scandal. He is calling on the California Attorney General to launch an investigation similar to the one in Pennsylvania to look into the internal records of the San Diego Diocese.
He said an independent investigation is needed “because you cannot trust this diocese to be transparent.” Zalkin said the Church has decided to place more importance on protecting its reputation. “My view is that they are more concerned about protecting their “brand” than they really are about the protection of children and making it right.”
The San Diego Diocese released a statement that read in part, “All accusations of priest misconduct are taken seriously. If anyone believes the published list is incomplete, they may contact the Diocese at (858) 490-8353.”