Brooklyn Diocese Turns Over Names of 15 Priests Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The Brooklyn Diocese on Friday gave prosecutors the names of 15 priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors over the past 20 years.

Frank DeRosa, a spokesman for the diocese, declined to comment on the nature of the allegations. He said the files were turned over to the district attorneys' offices in Brooklyn and Queens.

The diocese serves 1.6 million Catholics in the two New York boroughs.

Brooklyn's Bishop Thomas Daily announced Wednesday that he would give prosecutors the information on accused priests and committed himself to turning over information on all future allegations.

The move constituted a major policy shift for the bishop, who as recently as last month said he did not plan to release the names of Brooklyn priests who have faced allegations of sexual abuse.

On Thursday, Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota announced he was convening a special grand jury to investigate alleged sexual abuse by priests in Long Island's Rockville Centre Diocese and how the diocese handled those accusations.

Bishop William Murphy, head of the 1.5 million-member diocese, had already turned over information on abuse cases to the Nassau and Suffolk district attorneys last month.

In developments elsewhere Friday:

— Two Connecticut newspapers reported that a priest in the Bridgeport diocese had a sexual relationship with an underage girl who became pregnant in 1989. Church officials said the priest did not tell them how old the girl was, and that they did not know he had fathered a child until 1994, when he petitioned for removal from the priesthood.

— Police in suburban Las Vegas said they had evidence of sexual abuse involving a Catholic priest and teen-agers in his parish. Rachel Wilkie, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Las Vegas, said the priest was removed from his duties Jan. 30 -- the day the diocese learned of the allegations.

— The Archdiocese of Detroit said it will give prosecutors internal reports of alleged sexual abuse of children by clergy.

— The Catholic Diocese of Honolulu outlined its policy on sex abuse and the clergy in the latest issue of the diocese's newspaper. Patrick Downes, editor of the newspaper, said he felt there was a need to update readers on how the diocese responds to the issue.