How Many U.S. Bishops Have Enabled Sexual Abuse?

The best available study of bishops accused of enabling abuse is Two-Thirds of Bishops Let Accused Priests Work, by Brooks Egerton and Reese Dunklin (Dallas Morning News, June 12, 2002), with its table Bishops' Record in Cases of Accused Priests. We are currently reviewing that table and updating it. The first installment in our updating project is a spreadsheet showing the status of each bishop analyzed by Egerton and Dunklin. The spreadsheet shows that of the 109 bishops including one administrator) featured in in the survey, only 33 (30%) are still leading the same diocese. For the 76 who have moved on (70%), the breakdown is as follows:

      • 45 retired
      • 15 were promoted to new positions
      • 12 resigned
      •   3 died in office
      •   1 administrator finished his task and was replaced by a new bishop

The subsequent mobility of the bishops studied in the survey has implications for accountability, and dozens more bishops will retire in the next few years. Their replacements will be drawn from the ranks of diocesan middle managers, many of whom have been deeply involved in handling abuse cases for the current bishops.


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