ARCHDIOCESE OF SAN FRANCISCO CA
By William J. Levada, Archbishop of San Francisco
Several weeks ago, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the results of an independent audit, which measured diocesan compliance with the mandates of the Charter. As reported in Catholic San Francisco, the Archdiocese of San Francisco was judged to be in full compliance with the Charter requirements and it also received a commendation for strides in outreach to victims.
Next month, a study by the John Jay College in New York — commissioned by the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — will present aggregate statistics of child sexual abuse perpetrators and victims within the U.S. Catholic Church in the period 1950 to 2002. No other American institution is undertaking such a self study, but this action represents one of many steps we must take to honestly and forthrightly deal with the spiritual and temporal damage brought on by the abuse crisis.
The attached statement provides data specific to the Archdiocese of San Francisco regarding sexual abuse of minors by priests and related information. The national John Jay study and this release of data concerning the experience of the Archdiocese of San Francisco both reflect the commitment of U.S. Bishops to transparent and open communication with the faithful.
All of us in our Church – clergy and faithful alike – deeply grieve for the pain and suffering caused to victims and their families by the abuse and betrayal of children. I have met with victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse and I have been the sad witness of the deep and lasting harm of abuse. The actions we are taking to comply with and indeed go beyond the requirements of the Charter underscore our commitment to provide a safe environment within the Church for children, young people and everyone. We are determined to restore the trust of the faithful as we deal openly with this very painful chapter in the long history of the U.S. Catholic Church.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Archdiocese of San Francisco Statement – January 30, 2004
Article 9 of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young
People," approved by U.S. Bishops in June 2002, calls for a comprehensive
study of the causes and context of the clergy sexual abuse crisis. An
important phase is the completion of a descriptive study of the nature
and scope of the problem within the Catholic Church in the United States,
including such data as statistics on perpetrators and victims.
The total number of priests in ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, who served at a parish, school or other Archdiocesan facility, between 1950 and the present is estimated to be 3,606 – including diocesan priests, religious order priests in Archdiocesan assignments and priests on assignment from other dioceses and/or serving as summer replacements. Not included in this total are religious order priests who served in private universities, high schools or grammar schools operated by a religious order.
The total of 51 priests accused of credible allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor from 1950 to the present represents 1.4 percent of the total number of priests in ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco during that 53 year period.
The majority of known incidents of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest in ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. More than 85 percent of the alleged incidents occurred prior to 1980. By contrast, only six of the 148 allegations of sexual abuse registered with the Archdiocese pertain to conduct after 1990. These six allegations involved a total of five priests, two of whom were priests on assignment from other countries.
Since 1950, the total amount of payments made by the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s insurance carriers and the Archdiocese’s self-insurance program for legal settlements, therapy and counseling for victims and legal defense expenses is $10.25 million. This total includes $9.25 million for settlements (approximately 33 percent to 40 percent of which is customarily paid by victims to their attorneys); $500,000 for therapy and counseling for victims; and $500,000 for legal costs incurred by the Archdiocese in its defense.
The number of known lawsuits pending against the Archdiocese of San Francisco pertaining to child sexual abuse by priests is 66, all of which were filed between January 1 and December 31, 2003. This is the period covered by a California statute ("Burton Law" SB 1779), which allowed for one year the filing of civil lawsuits that otherwise would have been barred due to applicable statute of limitations. The pending lawsuits involve a total of 23 priests, 11 of whom are deceased. The Archdiocese of San Francisco was established in 1853 and once encompassed virtually all of northern California. During the years covered by the John Jay study, 1950-2002, there were periods of time when the territory and personnel of neighboring dioceses were part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. For example, the current Dioceses of Santa Rosa (established 1962); Oakland (established 1962); Stockton (established 1962); and San Jose (established 1981) were part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco prior to their being established as separate and independent dioceses.
Statistics pertaining to incidents of sexual abuse of minors by priests in these neighboring dioceses prior to their establishment are included in the Archdiocese of San Francisco data. In some cases, therefore, the same alleged perpetrator and victim claimant are included in the reports of both the Archdiocese and another diocese. However, the John Jay study, which will be released February 27, 2004, has a mechanism to detect any double reporting of clergy abusers and victims.
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, approved by U.S. Bishops in June 2002
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