United States

Church in the United States presents annual abuse report

The U.S. bishops' conference has released the sexual abuse report investigating cases reported between July 2022 and June 2023.

Paloma López Campos-June 4, 2024-Reading time: 2 minutes

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has published a report The report contains data on sexual abuse and financial compensation within the national Church for the year 2023.

The report indicates that 1,254 victims of abuse filed a total of 1,308 complaints. Of these, the vast majority are adults who have now reported the assaults they suffered as children.

Fight against abuse in the United States

To address these cases, dioceses and eparchies in the United States provided services to 183 victims and their families to support them. At the same time, they continued to provide assistance to another 1,662 individuals whose cases had already been included in previous years' reports.

As part of the prevention work, the Church examined the background of people working in church activities, whether they were priests, employees or volunteers. Training efforts were also intensified to identify cases of sexual abuse more quickly.

According to the report, the accused include seven clerics who have been removed from ministry or who have retired. However, 91 % of the accused priests are now deceased, "permanently removed from ministry or laicized." In short, "no credibly accused cleric is active".

Walking with victims of abuse

The president of the bishops' conference, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, laments at the beginning of the report the suffering of the victims. "These figures are not just numbers," he assures, "the statistics are the many stories and accounts of the betrayal of trust and the lifelong journey to recovery."

He also underlines his gratitude "to the surviving victims for denouncing the abuses they suffered, for holding us all accountable and for allowing us to walk alongside them".

Protecting minors

The document is based on information provided by an audit by StoneBridge Business Partners, a consulting firm of New York City. In addition, the data was supplemented by a survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in Apostolate (CARA). The dates studied in the audit range from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, and 100 % of the dioceses in the country participated in the process.

The report is one of the measures included in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People signed by the U.S. bishops in 2002. This charter outlined "a comprehensive framework of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and establishing protocols to protect children and young people."

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