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Spotlight Report

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Brooklyn bishop agrees to reveal names of suspect priests

By Fred Kaplan, Globe Staff, 4/11/2002

NEW YORK - Bishop Thomas Daily, the head of the Roman Catholic diocese in Brooklyn, announced yesterday that he would hand over to local prosecutors the names of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.

Daily has been silent on the issue of public disclosure, despite a month of requests from prosecutors, as well as from some of his own priests.

His silence was particularly glaring after press reports that he had helped cover up for child-molesting priests in the early 1980s, while he was a deputy to Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston.

In a statement last month, Daily expressed regret for ''certain decisions'' he had made in Boston, but said he had ''acted in good conscience, with the knowledge gained from consultations.''

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes yesterday said that Daily has not only agreed to turn over ''all historical case files'' - some going back 20 years - but pledged ''that all new and future allegations will be directed to our office without conditions.''

Some of these documents will be turned over as early as tomorrow, both to Hynes and to the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown.

Daily's diocese encompasses the 1.5 million Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens, the two largest boroughs of New York City.

It is separate from the New York Archdiocese, led by Cardinal Edward Egan, which includes 2.5 million Catholics in Manhattan, the Bronx, and five suburban counties stretching up into the Hudson Valley.

Egan agreed earlier this month to give prosecutors the names of priests suspected of sexual abuse over the past 40 years. He has also suspended six active priests whose names are on that list.

However, the New York Archdiocese also stated that, in the future, allegations of child abuse will be reviewed by an internal church committee, which will decide whether to take the charges to law enforcement authorities.

Several prosecutors objected to this policy statement, and urged that allegations be brought to authorities directly and immediately.

District attorneys from seven counties met with archdiocese lawyers Tuesday to discuss the matter. Afterward, Jeanine Pirro, the Westchester County prosecutor, called the talks ''very candid,'' but said, ''Clearly, more discussion is required.''

In his statement last month, Daily, like Egan, said he also relied on a ''committee of experts'' to review allegations of abuse.

This story ran on page A27 of the Boston Globe on 4/11/2002.
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