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  March 7, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 5Oakland, CA

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1092 new abuse allegations in U.S.

Oakland Diocese meets requirements
of bishops’ abuse-prevention charter


Abuse scandal affects Catholic giving

Who would govern the Church if the pope could not?

Pope gives blessing

Pope examines good and evil in his new book

DSPT president lauds laity as evangelizers

Dominicans buy
Berkeley synagogue
for college site

Bethlehem University leader honored by St. Mary’s College

USF nursing school
receives funds for
annual scholarships

New dean at FST

Cathedral and St. Mary’s Center to dialog
about future sale of former cathedral site

Pittsburg parish sets up system for
anonymous reports of local crimes

Labor leader feels at home running state employment department

Major grant helps St. Vincent Day Home
expand services to children and parents

JustFaith gains new financial sponsor

Present-day martyrs call us to confront social injustice also

Churches welcome Mid East peace summit

U.S. bishops’ office begins ‘Second Look’ ad campaign

OBITUARY
•Sister Mary Thomas Lillis, OP
•Sister Mary Claudine Peacock, SNJM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1092 new abuse allegations in U.S.

WASHINGTON—More than 1,000 people alleged abuse at the hands of 756 Catholic clergy in 2004, the nation’s Catholic bishops said Feb. 18.

In addition, officials said various dioceses paid $157.8 million for abuse settlements, therapy and legal fees last year. Since 1950, the Catholic Church in the United States has paid at least $840 million to settle abuse cases. Last year, three dioceses declared bankruptcy, attributing their financial problems to settlement costs.

The numbers show in sharp detail that victims continue to come forward to report abuse that, in many cases, occurred decades before. Only 22 of the 1,092 allegations made by 1,083 people involve abuse committed in 2004. There were nine additional cases of priests tied to child pornography.

“Continued vigilance and dedication to this effort is not a choice, it is a necessity,” said Kathleen McChesney, the outgoing director of Office of Child and Youth Protection for the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops. She said all new cases were turned over to law enforcement.

Combined with numbers released last year, at least 11,750 victims have made credible allegations against 5,148 priests and deacons between 1950 and 2004. Neither of the two studies included data from 2003, and officials conceded the figures could fluctuate.

The Oakland Diocese reported that between July 2003 and June 2004 (the period between the first and second diocesan audit) seven new allegations were made against three diocesan priests. Two additional allegations were made against priests from other dioceses serving for a brief period in the Oakland Diocese.

The three diocesan priests all had previous allegations; one is dead, another is laicized and the third is out of ministry. The diocese has been unable to locate the two visiting priests and does not know their status.

The diocese also received allegations from two people against a priest in the Santa Rosa Diocese and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Those allegations were reported to ecclesiastical authorities there.

The national figures, released as part of the bishops’ second annual report on child abuse, found that nearly all — 96 percent—of dioceses have implemented abuse reforms adopted in 2002 in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Youth People. Last year, that figure was 90 percent.

The on-site audits by former FBI agents with the Boston-based Gavin Group found seven dioceses still have work to do. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., refused to allow auditors into his diocese.

The cases reported in 2004 followed patterns first spotted last year:

Most of the abuse occurred during a spike between 1965 and 1974.
Victims were overwhelmingly boys between 10 and 14 years old.

Half of the clerics involved had been previously accused of abuse.

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the accused priests were already dead, laicized or removed from active ministry.

In addition, the report said 46,231 priests and deacons have undergone criminal background checks that were mandated in the 2002 reforms. Checks have also been completed on 179,656 teachers, 177,612 church employees and 769,348 volunteers.

The report said only half of all Catholic children have been trained in prevention programs designed to help them avoid—or report—abuse. The report said dioceses spent $20 million in 2004 on “child protection efforts.”

In a letter accompanying the report, McChesney said, “It is dangerous to assume that compliance with this Charter is all that is necessary to prevent abuse, restore confidence in the Church, and bring healing and hope to those who have been harmed. Much more is required, but nothing is required that is beyond the ability of those who
live and uphold the tenets of the Catholic faith.”

Most troubling for victims groups was the report’s disclosure that at least 42 priests or deacons who were accused in 2004 “remain in active ministry pending a preliminary investigation of an allegation.” Some 305 priests were temporarily suspended and 148 were permanently removed from ministry.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said the number of abusive priests still in ministry is probably much higher, and said the report violates the bishops’ promises of swift action against accused priests.
Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., president of the U.S. bishops conference, declined to say whether the Church needs a nationwide policy that calls for automatic suspension. “I can’t second-guess the individual decisions of bishops,” he said.

McChesney said some victims “have been frustrated, hurt and sometimes humiliated by the response of the church.”

In her final report, McChesney said audits on existing programs go only so far, and urged the bishops to make sure that the handling of allegations and victims is actually effective.

“Compliance does not measure quality,” she said.
The full text of the audit summary for the Oakland Diocese can be found at:
http://usccb.org/ocyp/dioceses04/oaklandca.shtml .


 

 

 

 


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