Before 2002, very little was publicly known about the number of cases,
or the costs, of clergy sexual abuse. The work of the media, academic
researchers, and the legal experts has gradually begun to paint a factual
picture of why transparency is critical to accountability in the Catholic
The clergy sexual abuse was a widespread crisis within the U.S.
Each diocese was surveyed in an attempt to learn the scope of the clergy
sexual abuse scandal and cover-up, both in human and financial terms.
- In all but 7 of the 195 reporting dioceses and eparchies, allegations
of clergy sexual abuse had been made against at least one priest.
- Over 12,700 individuals have made allegations of child sexual abuse
- 993 individuals came forward in 2005 alone.
- Sexual abuse allegations have been made against over 5,900 clergy
priests and deacons.
The abuse crisis is worldwide extending far beyond the United
- Ireland: In the Archdiocese of Dublin alone there
have been 350 accusations made against over 100 priests.
- England: As early as 2000 there was a new case being
reported every three months.
- Italy: In April 2006 a single priest was arrested
under accusation of repeatedly abusing approximately 20 children. Two
other priests are under investigation for aiding and abetting these crimes.
- Other: Check the BBC
website archives for stories of abuses around the world.
The current U.S. laws pertaining to child sexual abuse are not
adequately protecting children or bringing justice for survivors.
- Most states statutes of limitations expire when a victim reaches
his/her late 20’s.
- Most survivors of sexual abuse are not able to articulate the abuse
they suffered until their 30’s and 40’s.
- If the criminal statute of limitations has expired, no charges may
be brought against an abuser, and their name is NOT added to any
sexual abuse watch list.
- The current laws have not been able to hold a single bishop criminally
responsible for knowingly transferring an abusive priest, or otherwise
covering up a case of sexual abuse of a minor.
The clergy sexual abuse crisis has produced a major financial
crisis in the Catholic Church.
- To date, the clergy sexual abuse scandal and cover-up has already
cost over $1 billion (including more recent settlements in Boston, Orange
County, San Francisco, Louisville, etc.).
- Many dioceses and eparchies only reported partial cost figures: 38%
failed to provide data on the cost for priest treatment expenses, 38%
had missing data on attorney’s fees, and 18% failed to provide
complete cost figures for victim compensation. (JJ) (NOTE: the design
of the John Jay survey might have contributed to the difficulty some
dioceses had in reporting their data.)
- Three dioceses have already filed for bankruptcy (Tucson, Portland,
Catholics expect financial accountability.
- 27% of regular Mass attending Catholics surveyed were not aware that
any Catholic dioceses had declared bankruptcy. (FADICA - Foundations
and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities)
- 76% of laity surveyed are expecting a full accounting of the financial
costs arising from the clergy sexual abuse scandal. (FADICA)
- 20% of laity surveyed would change their giving to their diocesan
annual appeals if the funds were being used to pay lawsuits resulting
scandal and cover-up (which is why bishops work to convince people
that their contributions will not be used to pay settlements). (FADICA)
- Only 38% of laity surveyed indicated that their diocese had issued
audited financial statements within the past year. (FADICA)
The USCCB requires/recommends more transparency and accountability
than exists currently:
- http://www.usccb.org/bishops/dfi/DIOCFINISS.pdf ,
page 84 (“Financial Reporting”). This document was approved by the USCCB
at the Nov. 2002 General Meeting. Includes need for communication with
the laity, consultation with diocesan finance councils, norms for transparency
- http://www.usccb.org/nrb/nrbstudy/rnbreort.pdf ,
page 131 (“Diocesan Finance Councils” and the related “Footnote 48”).
Includes details about the responsibilities of Diocesan Finance Councils.
- http://www.usccb.org/ocyp/dioceses04/2004annualreport.pdf ,
page 21 (“Chapter 4: Recommendation #10”). Included in 2004 Annual Report
of USCCB’s Office of Child and Youth Protection (Feb. 2005). Includes
recommendations for reporting details of the sexual abuse crisis to the
FADICA – “2004 Catholic Donor Attitude Survey”, by Foundations
and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities in conjunction with the Center
for the Study of Church Management at Villanova, and Zogby International,
JJ – “The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse
of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, 1950-2002”,
Feb. 27, 2004 and “Supplementary Data Analysis,” March 2006
by John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
NRB - “A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United
States”, by the National Review Board for the Protection of Children
and Young People, Feb. 27, 2004.
OCYP – “Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the
Protection of Children and Young People - 2004 Annual Report: Findings
and Recommendations”, February 18, 2005 and “2005 Annual Report:
Findings and Recommendations,” March 2006 by USCCB Office of Child
and Youth Protection and the National Review Board.
NOTE: This list of facts and figures is far from complete; it is only
a humble beginning. We are relying on members and affiliates to provide
many more facts to illustrate the urgent need for these campaigns. These
facts should be forwarded to the FAA (Financial Accountability Advisors)
and LAA (Legislative Action Advisors).