March 31, 2006

Church Sex Abuse Costs Rise Despite Drop in New Allegations

Washington Post

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 31, 2006; Page A03

The financial costs of the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church rose dramatically in 2005, even as the number of new allegations fell, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said yesterday.

Releasing an annual report on their efforts to prevent abuse of minors by priests, the bishops said U.S. dioceses spent $399 million last year on legal settlements with sex abuse victims and $68 million on lawyers' fees, psychological counseling and related expenses -- about three times more than they paid in 2004.

The church's cumulative expenditures on sex abuse claims in the United States are approaching $1.5 billion. The tally of known victims has topped 12,500. The number of priests and deacons who have been credibly accused since 1950 is close to 5,000.

In releasing the blizzard of statistics, Catholic Church officials and their academic consultants put a generally positive gloss on the data, suggesting that the worst of the crisis is over.

Posted by kshaw at March 31, 2006 08:05 AM