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Collated USCCB Data
On the Number of U.S. Priests Accused of Sexually Abusing Children and the Numbers of Persons Alleging Abuse
1950–2018

Compiled by BishopAccountability.org
From reports commissioned and released by the USCCB
Updated February 16, 2020

As of May 31, 2019, information published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) indicates that the conference has counted 7,002 clerics "not implausibly" and "credibly" accused of sexually abusing minors in the period 1950 through June 30, 2018, with three gaps in the USCCB data. Out of the 118,184 priests who have worked in those years, the 7,002 priests accused of abusing children are 5.9% of the total. The USCCB reports also show that the conference has counted 20,052 victims who are known to the bishops in the period 1950 through June 30, 2018. After a brief introduction, we provide a table showing the sources for those numbers below.

Who are the 7,002 accused priests? Since 2005, BishopAccountability.org has maintained a Database of Accused Priests and other accused clergy. As of November 21, 2019, there were 6,488 names in that database, including 5,808 priests, 35 bishops, 108 deacons, and 47 seminarians, for a total of 5,998 accused clerics and future clerics, in those categories that the USCCB has counted – more than a thousand fewer than 7,002. Note that 370 religious brothers and 119 religious sisters are also listed in our database – categories not included in the USCCB data.

On June 21, 2002, shortly after the epochal USCCB General Assembly meeting in Dallas, the Tucson diocese released a list of accused priests. Other dioceses gradually followed suit, and after the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on August 14, 2018, many more dioceses and religious orders published lists. As of February 16, 2020, 151 U.S. bishops and 23 superiors of religious have published lists of accused – see our collection of links to those lists. Because 27 Latin rite dioceses and many religious order provinces have not released lists, and because the released lists are often incomplete, the released names are far short of the 7,002 priests whom the USCCB has counted as accused.

Sources of the Data

The USCCB hired the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to evaluate data submitted by member bishops regarding the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, bishops, deacons, and seminarians. In its 2004 report, the John Jay College found, according to survey forms completed by the bishops, that the bishops had received in 1950-2002 "not implausible" allegations of sexual abuse of 10,667 minors committed by 4,392 priests, including 12 bishops.

The John Jay College report also provides an estimate of the number of priests who worked in the United States 1950-2002. The surveys collected for the project reported 75,694 diocesan priests and approximately 34,000 religious priests, for a total of 109,694. In the years 2003-2016, the Catholic church has ordained 8,490 men to the priesthood, according to the Official Catholic Directory's General Summary of diocesan data. That brings the total number of priests in 1950-2016 to 118,184.

Year Ordained Year Ordained
2003 449 2012 485
2004 544 2013 471
2005 467 2014 508
2006 438 2015 545
2007 581 2016 587
2008 487 2017 506
2009 482 2018 523
2010 472 2019 465
2011 480 Total 8,490

In 2004, the USCCB commissioned the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University to begin collecting annual data on allegations and settlements, and starting in Spring 2005, CARA has published a report each year, beginning with the CARA Report on 2004. (See Bendyna's 2/15/05 letter to Skylstad describing the commission, in the 2005 Report, PDF p. 12.) Among other data, that report counts the number of diocesan and religious order priests "credibly" accused of abuse during the previous calendar year, and states how many of those had been accused in prior years or are being accused for the first time. These data were obtained using a survey that was available to the bishops and superiors of religious orders online. See, for example, the 2009 diocesan and religious order surveys (populated by CARA with aggregate US numbers), and see below for the Manchester diocese's summaries of its responses to the surveys.

Gaps

As mentioned above, there are three gaps in the USCCB data.

1) Data were not published for 2003, the year between the John Jay College report on 1950-2002 and the first CARA report, which covered 2004.

2) The USCCB unfortunately changed the reporting period after the report on 2013. In the reports on the years 2004 through 2013, the CARA part of the report published and analyzed data collected for the calendar year, unlike the "audit" part of the implementation report, which used a July-June period. For example, the CARA Report on 2013 reported and analyzed allegations received by the bishops and superiors of religious orders between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013. That was the 10th report to collect data in this way, so the CARA Report on 2013 was able to compare its data with a decade's worth of data collected using the same methodology. That "trend data" over time was an important achievement of the CARA reports.

The last five reports – on 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 – have changed their data period to match the period of the "audit" that appears in the same annual report. As a result, the CARA Report on 2013-2014 reported data from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. These data overlapped the CARA Report on 2013, and the two half-years' data were not separated from each other in the CARA Report on 2013-2014. The CARA Report on 2013-2014 admits that, as a result, this "CARA Survey of Allegations and Costs does not present trend data in tables as was the case in previous reports" (page 31, PDF page 38). Similarly, in the subsequent CARA reports, the rich trend data for 2004-2013 that are analyzed in earlier reports cannot be compared with the current year.

Another result of the USCCB's changing CARA's reporting period is that six months of data have been effectively lost from the running totals that can be calculated from the CARA counts. The CARA Report on 2013-2014 lumps together data from the second half of 2013 (already reported in the CARA Report on 2013) and data from the first half of 2014. Because the report does not separate the data for those two half-years, it is not possible to isolate the "new" data for January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014 and include them in the running totals. After a six-month gap, we pick up the story in the CARA Report in 2014-2015, which reports data from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

3) The CARA report on 2017-2018 has created a one-year gap in the data on religious order allegations. In all previous reports, a count was provided for total allegations and the number of those allegations which concerned priests who had been previously accused. A simple subtraction provided the number of priests accused for the first time. The diocesan survey still asks those questions and provides the results; the religious order survey does not.

The numbers in the following table are color-coded for easier reference red for credibly accused priests and purple for victims. We also provide links to all the USCCB source documents from which the numbers are derived, so that the numbers in this table can be checked.

Years Total Newly
Accused in Each Time Period
Newly Accused Diocesan Clerics in Each Time Period Newly Accused Religious Order Clerics in Each Time Period Newly Accused Other Clerics in Each Time Period Source Notes
1950-2002

4,392

10,667
survivors

3,282 929

181

 

John Jay Report for the USCCB, pp. 28 and 42. See also a PDF of the John Jay report. The "diocesan" category includes diocesan priests, extern priests, eparchian priests, deacons, bishops, seminarians, and other. In addition to 3,282 diocesan priests and 929 religious order priests, the John Jay report counted 181 priests who were accused of abuse but whose "clerical status" (diocesan or religious) was not provided in the source surveys. The John Jay researchers included priests "not implausibly" accused.
2003

Not
Available

Not
Available

Not
Available

Not
Available

Not
Available

Not
Available

    The USCCB never released data for 2003.
2004

387

1,083
survivors of new and previously accused priests

311

889
survivors of new and previously accused priests

76

194
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2004 (PDF pp. 12, 18-21, 34-47, no surveys provided) The CARA report states (p. 8): "Of the 134 [religious order] priests and deacons against whom allegations
were made ... [l]ess than half, 43 percent ... had been the
subject of previous allegations prior to January 1, 2004." I.e., 57% of the 134 were newly accused, or 76.38. We have rounded down to 76.
2005

203

777
survivors of new and previously accused priests

158

690
survivors of new and previously accused priests

45

87
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2005 (PDF pp. 37-57, 57-60; i.e., Chapters 5 and 6, Appendices B and C [blank surveys]) The CARA report states (p. 40): "Of the 69 religious priests ... [j]ust over a third, 35 percent ... had already been the subject of previous allegations in prior years." I.e., 65% of the 69 were newly accused, or 44.85. We have rounded up to 45.
2006

189

710
survivors of new and previously accused priests

168

632
survivors of new and previously accused priests

21

78
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2006 (PDF pp. 18-40, 46-49; i.e., Chapter 3; Appendices I and II [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
2007

204

689
survivors of new and previously accused priests

158

598
survivors of new and previously accused priests

46

91
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2007 (PDF pp. 34-56, 68-71; i.e., Chapter 4 and Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
2008

225

796
survivors of new and previously accused priests

173

620
survivors of new and previously accused priests

52

176
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2008 (PDF pp. 35-57, 70-73; i.e., Chapter 4 and Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
2009

169

513
survivors of new and previously accused priests

130

398
survivors of new and previously accused priests

39

115
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2009 (Chapter 4, Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
2010

179

501
survivors of new and previously accused priests

144

426
survivors of new and previously accused priests

35

75
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2010 (PDF pp. 30-52, 65-68, i.e., Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
2011

167

588
survivors of new and previously accused priests

147

489
survivors of new and previously accused priests

20

99
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2011 (PDF pp. 39-61, 73-76, i.e., Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
2012

160

471
survivors of new and previously accused priests

131

397
survivors of new and previously accused priests

29

74
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2012 (PDF pp. 34-56, 65-68, i.e., Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 32 and 39 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
2013

152

464
survivors of new and previously accused priests

129

370
survivors of new and previously accused priests

23

94
survivors of new and previously accused priests

  CARA Report on 2013 (PDF pp. 36-57, 68-74, i.e., Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 32 and 39 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
January 1, 2014 through
June 30, 2014

Not
Available

Not
Available

Not
Available

Not
Available

Not
Available

Not
Available

 

CARA Report on 2013-2014 changed the reporting period of the data. The data in this report were not collected for the calendar year 2014, as was the case with previous reports. Instead, the period was July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. As a result, this data partially overlaps data already reported in the CARA Report on 2013, and it is not possible to separate the new data from the data already reported.

Unfortunately, the decision to change the data collection period has interrupted CARA's own very useful project of comparing the data across years.

The change in period also creates a 6-month gap in the data we are posting here. Half of the data in the CARA Report on 2013-2014 overlaps the data provided in the CARA Report on 2013, and the duplicated data for July 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013 is not separated out. As a result, it is not possible to isolate from the CARA Report on 2013-2014 the part of the data which is new, i.e., the data from January 1 through June 30, 2014. In order to avoid double-counting, it is necessary to accept an under-count.

July 1, 2014 through
June 30, 2015
101

392
survivors of new and previously accused priests
82

321
survivors of new and previously accused priests
19

71
survivors of new and previously accused priests
  CARA Report on 2014-2015. (PDF pp. 72-75, i.e., Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant counts])  
July 1, 2015 through
June 30, 2016
193

914
survivors of new and previously accused priests
140

730
survivors of new and previously accused priests
53

184
survivors of new and previously accused priests
  CARA Report on 2015-2016. (PDF pp. 74-77, i.e., Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant priest counts, and line 1 for the victim counts])  
July 1, 2016 through
June 30, 2017
125

436
survivors of new and previously accused priests
95

373
survivors of new and previously accused priests
30

63
survivors of new and previously accused priests
  CARA Report on 2016-2017. (PDF pp. 74-77, i.e., Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 31 and 38 in each survey for the relevant priest counts, and line 1 for the victim counts])  
July 1, 2017 through
June 30, 2018

156


1,051
survivors of new and previously accused priests

156


864
survivors of new and previously accused priests

Not
Available


187
survivors of new and previously accused priests
  CARA Report on 2017-2018. (PDF pp. 74-77, i.e., Appendices B and C [surveys populated with totals; see line items 32 and 39 for the relevant diocesan priest counts, and line 1 for the victim counts. Note that for the first time in this data series, the religious orders failed to provide a count of the religious who "have had one or more previous allegations reported against them prior to" the survey period. As a result, it is not possible to calculate the number of 'new' religious order allegations.])  
Grand Total of Accused Priests, with USCCB's Ratio of Accused Diocesan and Order Priests 7,002





5,404

77%
1,417

21%
181

3%
 


Percentages do not total 100% because of rounding.
 
 
Total Survivors 20,052 7,797 1,588   10,667 from JJC report  

Sources:

1950-2002: Karen Terry et al., The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States [a.k.a. the "John Jay Report"] (Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2004)

2004-2018: Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (Washington, D.C.: 2005-2017), see above for links to individual reports.

Diocese of Manchester: Summaries of the Completed CARA Surveys

See also the Manchester diocese's reports during the NH attorney general's audit of the diocese, and the attorney general's repeated insistence that the diocese fully comply with the terms of the audit.

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 

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