Abuse victims push Memphis diocese to identify accused clergymen

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An organization is urging the Catholic diocese to release the names of clergymen accused of sexual assault.

Jane Wegner said at the age of 17 she was sexually abused by a priest in the Memphis area. Now, she joins other victims to not only share her story but to encourage others to speak out against sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

“Healing can’t happen unless the hidden secrets come out," Wegner said. “I’ve been hospitalized several times. I’ve taken two serious attempts on my life.”

The group known as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) stood outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception calling for Bishop David Talley to identify and release the names and images of accused clerics to the public.

“Bishops have been promising for decades that they’re turning over a new leaf, they’re going to be open, they’re going to be transparent, they’re going to come clean," victim David Clohessy said. "Well, if you make those promises, live up to those promises."

Martin Prentergast came all the way from Ireland to share his story. He said he was a 9-year-old when he was sexually abused.

“It’s not our shame; it’s not our guilt," Prentergast said. "It’s theirs."

SNAP said Memphis is one of several cities they’ve visited across the country to raise awareness about sexual abuse.

WREG reached out to the Catholic church for a comment, but they declined.

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