A religious watchdog organization in the U.S. has stated it is planning to release an American equivalent of Ireland’s Ryan report of child abuse at Catholic Church-run institutions.
Boston-based group BishopAccountability.org provides the public with a database of accused priests, survivors’ accounts of abuse and a timeline of the scandal of U.S. bishops covering up for priests who sexually abused minors in churches and schools.
The organization told the Irish Times it is in the midst of building a database of names of Irish religious figures who abused children in Ireland and later fled to America.
They also plan to compile evidence of institutional abuse across the U.S. in the same way information was collected for Ireland’s now infamous Ryan report.
The president of BishopAccountability.org, first generation Irish American Terence McKiernan, explained the mirroring of the reports, stating that the Catholic Church in the U.S. was modeled on the Irish Catholic Church. Around two-thirds of bishops in America have Irish roots.
“The Irish story is our story in America, too,” he told the Irish Times.
About seven years ago, the Catholic Church abuse scandal was exposed in the U.S., but McKiernan said that Ireland is “way ahead of the United States” in its findings on child abuse in religious institutions.
Anne Barrett Doyle, the Irish-American co-director of BishopAccountability.org, added: “In the United States, there has been a lot of attention paid to the abuse carried out by diocesan priests and covered up by bishops.
“The Ryan report made us realize that we have not had a similar accounting of the abuse at orphanages, boarding schools and minor seminaries run by religious orders in the U.S.”
The organization admits they do have the extent of resources as did the Ryan commission, but say they will attempt to mirror their investigations. They plan to use court records, news reports and victims’ statements to document the abuse, and eventually “name and shame” the sexual offenders.
“If there was one glaring weakness of the Ryan report, it was that abusers were not named, for whatever reason,” said McKiernan. “When we are finished, Irish survivors and all Irish people will be able to see the abusers identified by name, and the enablers of those abusers will be known.”
McKiernan went on to explain a pattern in America that when abusers are named, more survivors step forward.
The president of BishopAccountability.org said his organization’s hope is that the Irish will their Web site as a major resource.