March 30, 2006

Number of priests accused of child sex abuse decreasing, says study

Catholic Explorer

By Agostino Bono - Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Although child sex abuse allegations against Catholic clergy may continue, there is a marked decrease in the number of cases that have occurred in recent years, said a report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Most of the recent allegations concern events that took place decades ago, it said in a supplemental report to its mammoth study of the nature and scope of the U.S. clergy sex abuse crisis.

The original study, covering the years 1950-2002, was released in 2004 and commissioned by the U.S. bishops'Abuse Tracker Review Board. The supplemental study contained further analysis of the same data and was released in Washington March 30 along with the 2005 audit of how the U.S. church is applying its sex abuse prevention policies.

"The decrease in sexual abuse cases is a true representation of the overall phenomenon," said the John Jay supplemental report.

"Even if more cases are reported, they will be based primarily on abuse that occurred years before," it said.

A major reason for this is that people often have been waiting for many years before reporting abuse by a clergyman, it said.

Posted by kshaw at March 30, 2006 12:10 PM