October 13, 2005

Study Reveals Vast Scope of Priest Abuse

Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione and Doug Smith, Times Staff Writers

The clergy sexual abuse scandal reached far more broadly across the Los Angeles Archdiocese and put far more children at risk than has previously been known, according to a Times study that examined the records of hundreds of accused priests.

Although the sexual abuse scandal has been the subject of more than 560 court claims and a report by the archdiocese, basic information on the dimensions of the problem have remained sketchy. The Times analysis is the first to quantify the breadth of the scandal in the archdiocese.

Molestations have been alleged at roughly 100 parishes. But because the accused priests moved around the archdiocese on average every 4.5 years, the total number of parishes in which alleged abusers served is far larger more than three-fourths of the 288 parishes, according to the study, which examined records back to 1950.

The affected parishes were in neighborhoods of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties both rich and poor, suburban and urban, some predominantly white and others with African American or Latino majorities. The study does not support the contention made by some critics of the church that problem priests were dumped into poor, Latino and African American communities.

Based on the allegations, the number of abusive priests peaked in 1983. More than 11% of the diocesan priests those who worked directly for the archdiocese, rather than for religious orders who were in ministry that year eventually were accused of abuse.

Posted by kshaw at October 13, 2005 09:16 AM