Bishop Jaime Soto is speaking with ABC10 in his first sit down interview since revealing the names of 44 priests and two deacons credibly accused of sexually abusing children and young adults over the past 70 years. 

The Sacramento diocese says they know of 130 survivors. Was it a cover-up or did the church turn a blind eye? We put that question and more to Bishop Soto in an exclusive interview.

Bishop Soto: “I believe there are no excuses for what was done in the past. What I’ve decided to do is to do what’s responsible for today.”

Chris Thomas: “Oh come on Bishop. Some people will say this is the deal with the church. Seven decades. How did that happen? Was it a cover-up or was it people turning a blind eye?”

Bishop Soto: “I think there was at the time a lack of understanding of the harm that was inflicted by child abuse.”

Chris Thomas: “Where do victims get justice?”

Bishop Soto: “Well, I think that the courts provide one avenue. Myself and other bishops have also tried to provide this other avenue that doesn’t have any particular statute of limitations.”

He’s talking about a victim’s compensation fund that will be managed by Ken Feinberg. He’s an attorney often called “the compensation czar” because he handled claims for victims of 9/11 and other victims of clergy abuse.

Bishop Soto: “There is no way that we are going to be able to fully compensate them for the harm that has been done, but we want to be able to make some effort to acknowledge the pain that has been done and to provide some assistance to them. This has been very difficult for people to read, but also I acknowledge that there are probably victims out there who never came forward and for whatever reason never told their story.”

Chris Thomas: “And so you’re saying that there are probably other names that are not on that list?”

Bishop Soto: “There are other victims, and there could be other names. I won’t rule that out.”

Chris Thomas: “And so the list can be amended?

Bishop Soto: “The list can be amended both in terms of victims and in terms of perpetrators that we don’t know about.”

Full story at ABC10.