Local church speaks out after former valley priests accused of abuse

Valley church speaks on lists of priest accused of sexual abuse

On Monday, the Diocese of San Bernardino released the names of 34 former priests they say were credibly accused of sexually abusing minors over the last four decades. Seven of those abuse cases occurred at parishes within the Coachella Valley. 

Read more on the report and see a full list of the priest named

Bishop Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino published an apologetic message after releasing the report. The bishop said they shared this list of names in order to be transparent and accountable.

"My pledge to you is that we will continue in our commitment to protect child and youth from abuse," Barnes said in the video. 



Only one name on the published list, Peter McCormick, was not previously in the public domain. He was assigned to Sacred Heart in Palm Desert and permanently banned from ministry back in 2000. 

"Our diocese feels we must be open, we must be accountable, we must be honest, and we must be transparent," said Monsignor Howard Lincoln a Pastor at Sacred Heart Church.

"Our records also show 81 victims during those 40 years. Only four cases have occurred this century. But we have resources. We want you to come forward. If you were hurt by our church please, please come forward," he said. 

But experts tell us many victims of abuse will never report what happened. Carol Teitelbaum, a licensed marriage and family therapist, also shared with us that one in every three girls and one in every four boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18. 

For victims of a abuse from a religious leader, the fear of being believed is an issue that affects men just as much as it affects women.

"The confusion and the fear and the same is so big...that they don't know what to do with it. And if they try to tell anyone...which is what's happened for men in our group, they're not believed. Because people say, 'Oh no, Father whatever would NEVER do that...oh must have been mistaken,'" Teitelbaum said.

Teitelbaum offers a free counseling group on the first and third Tuesday of every month. For more information call her office number at (760) 332-8987. 

The 10th annual "It Happens to Boys" explores the links between child abuse and addiction, depression, low self-esteem, relationship and intimacy challenges, sexual dysfunction and compulsion, pornography use and more. Teitelbaum is one of the scheduled speakers. The conference will be held this Friday at the ABC Recovery Center in Indio. For more information on the conference, click here.

The Diocese has set-up a hotline for anyone to report abuse. That number is 888-206-9090.

Tonight at 5 p.m. on News Channel and CBS Local 2 at 5:30, Madison Weil speaks with a pastor from a local church who reacts to the report.

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