Annual report on Dallas Charter shows continued decline in number of abuse cases

National Catholic Reporter

Tom Roberts | Apr. 29, 2015

WASHINGTON The number of clergy sex abuse cases in the Catholic church in the United States continues to decline, and most of those newly reported stem from the 1960s through the 1980s, according to the latest report on how dioceses are complying with the ongoing requirements of the U.S. bishops’ 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The generally positive news in the report is tempered, however, by cautions against complacency from both Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Francesco C. Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.

And, as has been the case for the 12 years the audit has been performed, the review board is forced to report that the church in the United States is not in full compliance with the charter because the diocese of Lincoln, Neb., and five eparchies, dioceses of the Eastern church, refuse to cooperate with the survey.

In his letter presenting the report, Cesareo warned against “Charter drift” and a “false sense of security.”

“While substantive progress has been made, it should not be concluded that the sexual abuse of minors is a problem of the past that has been adequately addressed,” he wrote. “The fact that there were six substantiated cases of abuse of current minors in this year’s audit is indicative of the fact that there are still instances where dioceses fall short.”

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