U.S. Roman Catholic bishops said Thursday that the church tallied 4,434 sex abuse allegations against clergy in the 2018-19 audit year, triple the number seen the previous year, with much of the increase stemming from a wave of lawsuits and claims by survivors of decades-old molestation.
In the latest annual report on clerical sex abuse, dioceses and other Catholic entities reported paying out $281.6 million during the year for costs related to allegations, including payments for cases reported in previous years.
Only 37 of the new allegations were made by people who were minors in the audit year ending June 30, 2019. Of those, eight allegations were substantiated, while most of the others were either still under investigation or had been deemed unsubstantiated.
From the USCCB:
During the audit period, dioceses and eparchies provided outreach and support to 1,138 survivors and their families who reported during this audit period. Continued support was provided to 1,851 survivors and their families who reported abuse in prior audit periods. Support offered by the dioceses and eparchies may include counseling, spiritual assistance, support groups, and other social services.
The report also notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2019, over 2.6 million background checks were conducted on clergy, employees, and volunteers. In addition, in 2019 over 2.6 million adults and 3.6 million children and youth were trained on how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.
Regarding compliance with the, Charter, the report noted the following:
• StoneBridge Business Partners, the auditor, visited 64 dioceses/eparchies and collected data from 130 others.
• There were three instances of non-compliance: the Diocese of Oakland was found non-compliant with Article 13 for failure to evaluate the background of a visiting priest; the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia was found non-compliant with Article 2 due to non-functioning Review Board during the audit period; and the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese was found non-compliant with Article 2 due to non-functioning Review Board.
• Three eparchies did not participate in the audit: the Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace, the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle, and the Eparchy of St. Nicholas of Chicago.