Church Study on Sex Abuse 'Startling'

Toronto Star [Rome]
Downloaded October 21, 2003

ROME—The president of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops said yesterday an upcoming study of the sexual abuse of children by clergy in America in the past 50 years would likely produce "startling" numbers.

But Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., cautioned no other comparable studies had been done for other areas such as schools, sports or the medical community.

He called for surveys in other sectors to put the results into perspective because pedophilia was not just a Catholic problem.

"The bishops really want to be honest with our people and say, `This is the data we want to share with you,'" Gregory said.

"The numbers are going to be startling because they are going to be aggregate, over 50 years, and they will be startling because there is no context.

Last year, Boston was the epicentre of a scandal after it was discovered that several dioceses had transferred priests known to have abused children from parish to parish.

The National Review board of the Catholic Bishops Conference commissioned the study — which will include information from all 195 American dioceses — to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

The study is a compilation of information about offenders, victims, incidents of abuse, cost of therapy and legal fees.


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