Claims of Sexual
Abuse by Priests Fall,
By AP from the
NYTimes on the Web, April 12, 2007
The number of sexual abuse claims
involving members of the clergy that were received by the nation’s Roman
Catholic bishops and religious orders has dropped for the second year in a row,
a new report shows.
Costs related to abuse cases decreased by about 15 percent in the past year,
mainly because of declines in costs to settle abuse cases.
The findings, released yesterday, were part of an annual review that the bishops
commissioned in 2002 as part of a pledge to protect children against sexual
Bishop Gregory M. Aymond of Austin, Tex., who heads the bishops’ Committee for
the Protection of Children and Young People, said he was encouraged by the trend
in numbers: 1,092 abuse claims in 2004, 783 in 2005 and 714 in 2006.
Still, Bishop Aymond called the findings “sobering” and added, “The fact that
there are any recent cases at all is very disconcerting.”
John Moynihan, a spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, a lay group seeking more
openness from Catholic leaders, said he considered the 714 cases last year
More than 13,000 molestation claims have been filed against clergy members since
1950, and the bishops say abuse-related costs have exceeded $1.5 billion.
“One would think that after all these years it would have tapered off greatly,”
Mr. Moynihan said. “I’m sure we have not seen the end of it.”
Most of the people who came forward in 2006 said they had been victimized
between 1960 and 1984.