Bishop Accountability


Accused Priests: 15 (of whom 2 were "completely exonerated")
Total Priests: 940 (active and retired)
Persons Making Allegations: 32
Cost: $292,388 (of which $166,500 in settlements to alleged victims and $125,888 in legal fees and counseling for victim survivors and alleged abusers)

See Cathy Lynn Grossman, Survey: More Clergy Abuse Cases Than Previously Thought (2/10/04) with AP table of data for 74 dioceses. The AP/Grossman table incorrectly states the total cost, because it provides the settlement number but does not include legal fees and counseling.

See the Dallas Morning News database entry on Bishop F. Joseph Gossman. The June 2002 database examined the records of bishops and identified those who had allowed accused priests to continue working or had otherwise protected priests accused of sexual abuse. The database is relevant to the bishops' "Nature and Scope" study because the bishops who prepared the surveys for the study are in many cases responsible for the "scope" of the problem.

National Statistics to Include Raleigh Data

On February 27, at a news conference in Washington D.C., the National Review Board (NRB) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will release the results of the two studies commissioned by the NRB as required by Article 9 of the Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People(Charter).

Article 9 of the Charter established the NRB, a committee of laypersons appointed by the Conference President and reporting directly to him. The Board monitors the work of the Office of Child and Youth Protection and approves the annual report of the implementation of the Charter in each diocese. The NRB was also charged with commissioning two studies, a study of the Nature and Scope of the sexual abuse problem in the Church and a comprehensive Causes and Context study of the crisis.

The Nature and Scope study was designed to try to define the full nature and scope of the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The bishops have publicly stated that only when the full truth is known will credibility be restored.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York from which it got the name, The John Jay Study, performed the sturdy. The study has two parts. Part One contains statistical information covering the period from 1950-2002 to determine the scope of the problem in the United States. Each diocese was asked to provide certain statistics which included; the total number of diocesan and religious priests serving in the diocese during that period of time; the number of clergy accused of sexual misconduct with a minor during the same period; the number of priests exonerated; the percentage of the total number of priests accused during this period; the number of alleged victims; and the amount of money paid during this period in settlements to alleged victims.

Part Two of the study contains additional statistical information that will assist the NRB in understanding the nature of the problem. With this information, the Bishops can determine whether the steps they have already taken are adequate to the problem. The information from the study presented on February 27 will be reported as aggregate data for all 195 dioceses/eparchies in the United States. It will not be diocesan specific. The statistics, which were reported by the Diocese of Raleigh for the John Jay Study, have been provided to parishioners in the last two issues of the NC Catholic dated January 6, and January 18, 2004.

During the period from 1950-2002 there were 940 active and retired priests in the Diocese of Raleigh. Based on a review of our records 15 priests had allegations of sexual misconduct made against them. Two were completely exonerated. The percentage of priests in the diocese with allegations against them during this period is 1.3 %. During this same period of 52 years, there were 32 individuals who made allegations of sexual misconduct against clergy and the diocese paid $166,500 in settlements to alleged victims. The diocese also paid an additional $125,888 in legal fees and counseling for victim survivors and alleged abusers from 1988-2002. It is important to note that the Diocese of Raleigh covered the entire State of North Carolina until 1972 when the Diocese of Charlotte was created from the 46 westernmost counties of the State.

During the fiscal year 2003-04 and an additional settlement was paid in the amount of $28,750. All of the incidents of alleged sexual abuse of a minor by clergy of this diocese have been identified as having occurred before 1988 and the confirmed reports of these alleged incidents were made to the diocese after 1988 when the diocese first put policies in place. The clergy alleged to have been involved in these incidents are deceased, retired or no longer in active ministry in the diocese.

In addition to the John Jay Study, Parts One and Two, the NRB will, on February 27, release Phase I of the Causes and Context Study. Phase I, described as an investigatory phase, has been referred to as the Bennett Report. Conducted by a Task Force of the NRB, under the chairmanship of nationally known attorney, Robert Bennett, members have interviewed scores of persons who are familiar with various aspects of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy including victim survivors, priests, bishops, psychologists, doctors, authors, researchers and law enforcement officials. The results of these interviews will provide the framework for Phase II, a comprehensive empirical “causes and context” study which is yet to come.

These studies have been undertaken at the request of the bishops themselves, who know that they cannot change history but by taking decisive action collectively and in their respective dioceses, demonstrate their commitment to ensuring as much as humanly possible, that history does not repeat itself.

Since 1988, the Diocese of Raleigh, under the leadership of Bishop Joseph Gossman has had written policies in place to respond to allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. A Diocesan Review Board, the majority of whom were lay persons, was appointed in 1994, to assist the bishop in reviewing cases, and a Victim’s Assistance Coordinator was named to provide counseling and support to victims and their families. In 1998, the Code of Conduct for Church Personnel was adopted and implemented.

From June 2002 to the present, the Policies and Procedures for the Program for the Protection of Children and Young People were revised to being them into full compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People of the USCCB and the Essential Norms for Diocesan Policies Dealing with Allegation of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons. The Policies and Procedures for the diocese were published in English and Spanish, as was the Code of Conduct.

The Office for the Protection of Children and Young People was created and a full-time director was named to oversee the Program. A comprehensive parish-oriented Safe Environment Program was developed and implemented. The membership and functions of the Diocesan Review Board were expanded, as was the Outreach Program to victims and survivors with personal involvement and participation by the bishop. The diocese entered into a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding with the Conference of District Attorneys of North Carolina to ensure strict adherence to civil reporting requirements. The diocese is actively working with Prevent Abuse North Carolina in the development and implementation of safe environment programs especially in the area of education.

The Diocese of Raleigh was audited by independent auditors on behalf of the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the USCCB, from September 22-26, 2003. The diocese was found to have a comprehensive and aggressive program for responding to allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor by clergy and to be in full compliance with the provisions of the Charter.

The Policies and Procedures for the Program for the Protection of Children and Young People, the results of the audit for the Diocese of Raleigh, the number for reporting allegations of sexual misconduct and obtaining Victim Assistance, are available on the diocesan website, in English and Spanish.

Bishop Gossman said the Catholic Church in the United States has experienced a crisis unprecedented in this lifetime. “The sexual abuse of children and young people by some clergy and the response by some bishops has caused enormous pain, anger and confusion. The damage is devastating and long lasting and the Diocese of Raleigh will continue to deal with the crisis as strongly, consistently and effectively as it has in the past.”

Bishop Gossman added, “The healing … the suffering inflicted on any child or young person by someone serving in the name of the Catholic Church will remain among the highest priorities of this diocese. At the same time the diocese will continue its commitment to serve those brothers and sisters who also look to the Church for help and healing, sustenance and support, acceptance and love.”

Last year on more than 59,000 occasions, Catholic Social Ministries helped individuals, who were homeless, hungry, troubled or desperate, to find comfort and consolation, food and shelter, hope and acceptance without regard to race, religion or economic status. Outreach to the poor was made through the Endowment for the Poor, which rewarded grants to organizations serving the poor, the homeless and the disenfranchised. Support was increased and improved for family outreach centers administered by Catholic Social Ministries.

Programs serving African-Americans, Hispanics, Koreans, and Vietnamese, assisted those who were new to our communities to celebrate with us, allowing us be enriched by the diversity of their cultures. Diocesan Catholic schools educated over 8,400 students and financial aid in the form of tuition assistance was given to 280 students. These are but a few examples of what the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Raleigh, by the grace of God and the generosity of the people, is doing through its pastoral ministry programs.

Bishop Gossman said his pledge to the people of the Diocese of Raleigh remains firm. “I will continue to work diligently and faithfully to protect the safety of its children and young people, to reach out to those in need of healing and reconciliation, and to provide life and its provisions to those sisters and brothers who are most in need.”




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