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(CNS) — The 15th annual report on the implementation of the U.S. bishops’
“Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” shows a
decrease in allegations of clergy sex abuse from the two previous years but
also indicates the need for continued vigilance since charges were raised by
more than 650 adults and 24 minors.
overall decrease in allegations coupled with the fact that charges of abuse are
still being made is something Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National
Review Board, which oversees the audits, finds troubling.
introductory remarks to the report released June 1, he said: “While
progress continues to be made, there are worrisome signs for the future
revealed in this year’s audit that cannot be ignored.”
said he was most concerned by signs of general complacency such as a shortage
of resources available to fully implement programs, failure by some dioceses to
complete background checks in a timely manner and, in some cases, poor record
wrote that this “apparent complacency” could indicate that some in the
church think “sexual abuse of minors by the clergy is now an historic
event of the past.”
view would be untrue, as the current report indicates, he said, adding: “Any
allegation involving a current minor should remind the bishops that they must
re-dedicate themselves each day to maintaining a level of vigilance that will
not permit complacency to set in or result in a less precise and thorough
implementation of the charter.”
newly released report — based on audits conducted between July 1, 2016, and
June 30, 2017 – shows that 654 adults came forward with 695 allegations.
Compared to 2015 and 2016, the number of allegations decreased significantly
due to fewer bankruptcy proceedings and statute of limitations changes. The
report also notes that 1,702 victim/survivors received ongoing support and that
all dioceses and eparchies that received an allegation of sexual abuse during
the 2017 audit year reported them to the appropriate civil authorities.
to the charter, 24 new allegations were raised by came from minors. As of June
30, 2017, six were substantiated and the clergy were removed from ministry.
These allegations came from three different dioceses and four of the six
allegations were against the same priest. Eight allegations were unsubstantiated
as of June 30, 2017. Three were categorized as “unable to be proven”
and five investigations were still ongoing at the time of the audit.
report acknowledges the church’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of
children and vulnerable adults pointing out that in 2017, more than 2.5 million
background checks were conducted on church clergy, employees and volunteers and
more than 2.5 million adults and 4.1 million children have been trained on how
to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.
compliance with the charter, two eparchies and one diocese did not participate
in the audit this year and all 191 participating dioceses were found in
compliance. Of the 63 dioceses/eparchies participating in the on-site audits, three
eparchies were found noncompliant.
report’s introductory remarks stress the importance of the honesty of victims
and survivors who have come forward.
is because of these brave individuals that victim assistance and child protection
are now central components of the church,” wrote Cardinal Daniel N.
DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops, in the report’s preface.
cardinal stressed that implementing the charter is “not something that can
be done by only one person. It takes the effort of multiple people in every
diocese and in every parish to ensure that victims/survivors have opportunities
for healing, and that the church is a safe place for children and vulnerable
is also something that will remain a key part of the church in years ahead, as
he said: “We must continually rededicate ourselves to keeping our promise
to protect and pledge to heal.”
The Center for Applied Research in the
Apostolate, based at Georgetown University in Washington, gathers data for the
report, and StoneBridge Business Partners, based in Rochester, New York,
conducts the annual audits.
The annual report has two parts. The
first is the compliance report of StoneBridge, which carried out on-site audits
of dioceses and eparchies and reviewed diocesan documentation. Under canon law,
dioceses and eparchies cannot be required to participate in the audit, but it
is strongly recommended that they do.
The second part of the report is the
“2017 Survey of Allegations and Costs,” conducted by CARA.
to the 2017 report, dioceses, eparchies and religious institutes reported
$263,809,273 in total costs related to child protection efforts as well as
costs related to allegations that from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, which represents
a 50 percent increase from the amount reported the previous year.
Note: The link https://bit.ly/2JpeCYo goes to the full report.
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