February 19, 2005

Bishops Report 1,092 New Abuse Charges

Los Angeles Times

By Larry B. Stammer, Times Staff Writer

While pledging to stop the sexual abuse of children in the Roman Catholic Church, the nation's bishops reported Friday that they had received 1,092 new allegations in 2004 against at least 756 priests and deacons.

Most of the new allegations involved molestations that occurred between 1965 and 1974, according to a second annual audit released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Half of the Catholic clerics accused last year had been named in connection with other alleged incidents and more than 70% have died, been defrocked or removed from the ministry.

Twenty-two, or 2%, of the new charges reported in 2004 came from victims who were still underage last year, the audit said. While noting that the number of such very recent cases appeared to be small, church leaders were cautious about drawing a too optimistic conclusion that the scandal is ending.

"The crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over. What is over is the denial that this problem exists," Kathleen McChesney, executive director of the bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, said at a Washington news conference Friday. She said the number of allegations probably was understated.

Posted by kshaw at February 19, 2005 06:46 AM