Sean Rossman , USA TODAY June 29, 2017
The Catholic Church’s decades-long sex abuse scandal inched closer to the Vatican on Thursday, when Australian officials charged Pope Francis’ chief financial adviser with sexual offenses.
The case of Cardinal George Pell sheds more light on the ongoing crisis involving thousands of allegations, accused priests and millions if not billions in legal settlements.
The cases at the center of the Oscar-winning film Spotlight are only one part of the story. Here’s what we know about the Catholic sex abuses in the U.S.
6,528 clerics accused
BishopAccountability.org, a Massachusetts-based website dedicated to documenting Catholic sex abuse cases, calculated 6,528 clerics have been accused of sexually abusing minors from 1950 to 2015.
The statistics were compiled by reports posted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The accused clerics make up 5.6% of priests who served from 1950 to 2015.
In Guam alone, advocates say there could be as many as 200 sex abuse lawsuits against the island’s clergy.
Most of the accused were priests
Among the documents cited by BishopAccountability.org is a study from John Jay College researchers, who found 69% of the accused from 1950 to 2002 were diocesan priests.
A quarter of them were pastors and nearly half of them were associate pastors at the time of the abuse, according to the study, “Context for the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests.”
10,667 individual abuse reports
By 2003, 10,667 individual reports of sex abuse by priests were made to U.S. dioceses.
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