The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently released its 2013 audit of 127 dioceses/eparchies and the numbers are staggering. Despite increased awareness and a pledge by Pope Francis for greater accountability and vigilance for sexual abuse, there were still 935 allegations of sexual abuse last year alone. Notably, the report indicates 136 of those claims have been substantiated, which is a large number given that sexual abuse is often a swearing contest between victim and perpetrator. In fact, 472 of the claims were unable to be proven either way. 223 claims are still under investigation, 78 were found to be unsubstantiated and there were 27 "other".
As for the accused, 538 priests and 11 deacons were accused of sexual abuse. 175 others were also accused but their clerical status was unknown. With respect to the victims, 80% were male and only 20% were female. The most victimized were children between the ages of 10 and 14.
According to the report, in the past 11 years, the Catholic Church has spent almost $3 billion on allegations of sexual abuse. The figure includes settlements, therapy for victims, support for offenders, attorneys’ fees and other costs. To review a full copy of the audit, click here.
To be sure, sexual abuse is not exclusive to the Roman Catholic Church – we have also represented people in this type of case against several other denominations. . And it can be perpetrated by any authority figure: teachers, coaches, pastors, babysitters, etc. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact one of our experienced and award-winning attorneys to help you get the justice you deserve. Simply fill out this form or call us any time at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle all sexual abuse cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we win. For more information on our fees and costs, click here.