Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Every Catholic diocese in Texas published Thursday the names of clergy accused of sexual abuse against minors going back as far as the 1940s.
Some 300 names of priests, deacons and other clergy were released by the 15 catholic diocese of Texas, bringing to light those religious leaders who have faced "credible" allegations of sexual abuse against people under the age of 18.
"Today I am following through with a commitment I made to you in October to provide the names of those priests who have been the subject of a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor from the period of 1950 to the present," said Bishop Edward Burns of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
Each diocese independently compiled and published a list of its accused clergy on its website, some detailed the alleged abuses while others only listed the names.
"A 'credible allegation' is one that, after review of reasonably available, relevant information in consultation with the Diocesan Review Board of other professionals, there is reason to believe it is true," the Dallas diocese said on its website.
A name on the list does not mean the person is guilty, Burns said.
"Although I have also provided this list of names to law enforcement, inclusion on this list does not indicate that a priest is guilty of, been convicted of, or has admitted to the alleged abuse," he said in a letter on his website.
The Galveston-Houston diocese stated in its list that criminal charges are pending against one of its former clergy while another is currently under investigation.
Many of the accused are dead.
The lists are being released to encourage those who have been sexually abused by clergy to come forward and to ensure the safety of children, the Dallas diocese said.
The San Antonio diocese list contained the most names with 56 and the Galveston-Houston diocese had the second most with 42. Dallas had 31, Amarillo and El Paso both had 30, Corpus Christi had 26, Austin had 22, Fort Worth 17, Brownsville 14, San Angelo 13, Beaumont 12, Luddock 10, Victoria 3 and Tyler 1.
Laredo was the only diocese with no clergy member named.
The dioceses decided to undertake this project in September.
"The Bishops of Texas have decided to release the animus of these priests at this time because it is right and just and offer healing and hope to those who have suffered," wrote Archbishop of Galveston-Houston Daniel Cardinal DiNardo in a letter published on the diocese's website. "On behalf of all who have failed in this regard, I offer my sincerest apology. Our Church has been lacerated by this wound and we must take action to heal it."