Lawyer: New York Diocese has secret list of priests who have molested children

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NEW YORK -

A New York lawyer is petitioning against the Catholic Church and is asking for the public's help.

Jeff Herman represents sex abuse victims. He says the diocese has a secret list of priests who have molested children.

"The information that is missing are the secret files that the Catholic Church of New York has maintained for decades and has refused to provide for the public," Herman said.

The New York Child Victim's Act allows childhood sex victims to come forward and file a claim without a statute of limitation. Starting on Aug. 14, 2019 until Aug. 14, 2020, victims can file a claim no matter when the alleged abuse happened.

Herman believes the diocese is holding out on the list and will eventually release it, once it is too late to file a claim. He says that victims often feel shame in these cases and that these papers are crucial proof for these victims to come forward.

"Until you hear that there are other survivors, until you see the name of your abuser in the list or in the newspaper, you're going to stay in that shame or that cocoon," Herman said.

Brian Toale, a victim and now representative of SNAP -- Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests -- said it took him almost 50 years to come forward. He was the sixth person to sign Herman's petition.

"The church has been telling us for centuries that confession is good for the soul," said Toale. "They need to take some of their own advice. The only way they are going to remain relevant is if they clear this out completely, and they only way this is going to happen is if they release all their secret files."

The New York Diocese said in a statement, "The Archdiocese of New York has already shared its files with the New York State Attorney General's office, and with the 10 district attorneys who cover the 10 counties of the Archdiocese. We have also published on our website the names of all bishops, priests and deacons who have had a credible and substantiated allegation of abuse brought against them, as well as those clergy who had compensation paid as a result of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program."

The petition can be viewed and signed here.

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