Vermont’s Roman Catholic Church revealed in a report Thursday that there were “credible and substantiated” child sexual abuse allegations against 40 priests in the state since 1950, the Associated Press reports. All but one of the allegations occurred before the year 2000, and none of the priests are currently in the ministry. Many priests named in the report are now dead. Bishop Christopher Coyne commissioned the report after the Vermont attorney general’s office launched a separate probe into abuse allegations. The church's reviewers initially investigated 52 priests, but could only substantiate allegations against 40. “While most of these allegations took place at least a generation ago, the numbers are still staggering,” Coyne said in a news conference, adding that “family secrets”—like the ones held by the church—can be “toxic” and “fester like neglected wounds.” Coyne also said the church was still in discussions with a handful of other victims.
The most recent case, from the mid-2000s, involved a priest who admitted to touching the genitals of an 18-year-old male without consent, among other sexual advances. He was removed from priesthood and sentenced to 30 days in jail.