Bishop Accountability

Accused Priests: 49 (of which 34 archdiocesan and 15 extern/order priests)
Total Priests: 1,249
Individuals Who Made Allegations: 153
Cost: $13,524,000 (of which $11,800,000 on settlements, $474,000 on counseling, $350,000 on pastoral care, and $900,000 on attorney's fees)

See the Dallas Morning News database entry on Bishop Alexander Brunett. 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.

U.S. Bishops, Seattle Archdiocese release clergy abuse data

February 27, 2004

(Seattle) In an unprecedented example of accountability and transparency, the U.S. Catholic bishops today released national study results that quantify clergy sexual abuse of minors over the past 50 years. In conjunction with the national release, the Archdiocese of Seattle released its own statistics related to the scandal.

The national study conducted at the request of the bishops by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York indicated 4,392 priests had allegations against them from 10,667 individuals between 1950 and 2002. The total cost of the scandal nationally was calculated at more than $500 million.

In the Seattle Archdiocese, 49 priests had allegations against them from 153 individuals who made allegations from 1950 through 2003. The total cost of the scandal locally was calculated at $13.5 million.

"It is with deep regret for the crimes of the past and a sense of hope for the future that I make this report today," said Archbishop Alex J. Brunett. "One child harmed is one too many. I know my fellow bishops and our entire church share my remorse for those who have been harmed.

"At the same time, it is my hope that making ourselves accountable will promote healing for the victims and increase protection for children in our church and society," he said. "We know that apologies cannot change history. The only adequate response is an active commitment to heal past wounds and prevent future harm."

Local statistics indicate the incidence of abuse by Catholic clergy reached its peak here in the 70s and declined in each successive decade. Most incidents reported locally and in the national study are decades old. Although half of all allegations of clergy abuse were received by the Archdiocese of Seattle in the last three years, more than 75 percent of the reported incidents occurred prior to 1980.

"The statistics reported today show that the programs implemented here and in many other dioceses across the country have established a solid foundation for child protection and abuse prevention efforts." Brunett said. "We recognize that there is much work to do and we intend to build on our current prevention efforts so that children in our care and throughout society are protected."

The Seattle Archdiocese implemented one of the nation's first policies for pastoral outreach and maintains an active program of pastoral care as well as screening, training and background checks for all clergy and church staff.

The Archdiocese recently received commendation from an independent audit team dispatched here to verify compliance with strict national standards for addressing sexual abuse of minors by clergy. Auditors said Seattle's program "could serve as the national model for the Catholic Church in the United States."

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For more information, contact: Greg Magnoni 206.382.4862

Clergy Abuse Summary
Archdiocese of Seattle (1950-2003)

Catholic population


Number of parishes, missions & faith communities


Number of clergy (1950-2003)


Number of clergy with allegations against them




     Externs & Religious


Percentage of clergy with allegations

3.9 Percent

Number of victims making allegations of abuse


Total cost of clergy abuse

$13.5 million

Total cost of victim settlements

$11.8 million

Total cost of counseling


Total cost of pastoral care


Total cost of attorneys' fees


In state, 268 alleged victims of 68 priests

By Staff and news services
The (Olympia WA) Olympian
February 28, 2004

The Catholic Church has spent $15.5 million in the state dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests, the church revealed Friday.
More than half of that amount was used to settle cases dealing with a priest who spent five years of his 40-year career at Saint Michael Catholic Church in Olympia.

The report by the Archdiocese of Seattle said 68 Roman Catholic priests in Washington are accused of sexually abusing 268 children from 1950 to 2002.

The majority of the abuse cases occurred years ago, according to the Washington state contributions to a national, church-sanctioned study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

"To our knowledge, there has not been one instance of abuse by a priest or a deacon in this diocese since 1991," Bishop William Skylstad of the Spokane Diocese said at a news conference Friday.

The largest settlements deal with James McGreal, now 80, who was a priest at Saint Michael from 1966 to 1971.

The church announced last year that it had settled 15 clergy abuse cases involving McGreal for $7.87 million. The abuse cited in those cases occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni said.

Attorney Michael Pfau of Tacoma, who handled those cases, said two of the victims in the resolved cases were abused by McGreal in Olympia. Several other lawsuits stemmed from abuse McGreal committed while at other churches, including St. Catherine Catholic Church in Seattle and St. Anthony's in Renton.

Pfau said he intends to file another lawsuit in the next few months against McGreal on behalf of nine more victims. Two of those nine allege they were abused by McGreal while he was in Olympia.

McGreal resigned in 1988 after sex-abuse allegations were made public. He was ordained in 1948 and served in at least six parishes and two hospitals.

McGreal lives in a secure facility near St. Louis, Mo., where he is supervised and receiving treatment, Magnoni said.

The church encourages other victims to come forward, he added.

"It's a moving target," Magnoni said. "The potential for future lawsuits is always there."

Skylstad, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the goal of church leaders is that no child is ever molested by clergy again.

"It is nothing less than to achieve a perfect record," Skylstad said. "Not one more instance of abuse by Catholic clergy any time, anywhere, anyplace."

But victims criticized the Jay study as biased and said they remain skeptical of church leaders who covered up abuses for decades.

"These numbers only represent the numbers of documented cases," said Jim Biteman, director of the Seattle chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "How many other cases have gone undocumented?"

"It was a voluntary self study," said Molly Harding, leader of the Spokane chapter of SNAP. "The church formulated the questions, and the church controlled the materials provided. A third party did not verify all of the information."

The number of victims could have been reduced if bishops had moved quickly against perpetrators instead of ignoring the problem or transferring the priests to other parishes, Biteman said.

Two unprecedented national studies released Friday found that nearly 10,667 minors have claimed they were molested by U.S. Roman Catholic clergy since 1950, and that bishops bear much of the responsibility for the crisis.

The abuse claims were filed against 4,392 of the 109,694 clergy who served during the past half-century -- or about 4 percent of the clerics, according to the report by the National Review Board, a lay watchdog panel formed by the U.S. Catholic bishops.

In Washington, the Spokane Diocese reported complaints against 13 priests, or 6 percent of its 201 priests, since 1950. There were 101 alleged victims.

The Seattle Archdiocese said complaints were filed against 3.9 percent of 1,249 priests, with 49 priests accused by 153 people.

The Archdiocese reported spending $13.5 million to deal with the allegations. That included $11.8 million on victim settlements, $474,000 for counseling, $350,000 for pastoral care and $900,000 for attorney fees.

"It is with deep regret for the crimes of the past and a sense of hope for the future that I make this report today," Archbishop Alex J. Brunett said Friday. "One child harmed is one too many. We know that apologies cannot change history. The only adequate response is an active commitment to heal past wounds and prevent future harm."

The Rev. Jim Lee of Saint Michael Catholic Parish in Olympia said efforts have been made to keep church members informed.

"We've been trying to put information in our Sunday bulletin to keep people aware of what we're doing, basically trying to be proactive and transparent and not avoid the issue," he said.

The church performs background checks on all employees and requires that chaperones work in pairs, Lee said. Much of these efforts began before allegations of sexual abuse surfaced in the Boston archdiocese.

"Probably what is the most important is the ongoing daily effort to faithfully administer to folks and to be a place that is safe for everyone," Lee said. "We try to take common-sense precautions to ensure safety."

A few months after bishops met in Dallas on sexual abuse in June 2002, Saint Michael invited residents to the church to talk about the issues. The six-hour gathering drew about 40 people.

Within the past three years, Lee said, a few people came to him to report sexual abuse they had experienced in the 1960s and 1970s. Lee, who has a degree in counseling, said he listened and connected victims with the Archdiocese, which provides therapy and investigates charges.

Abuse by Catholic clergy reached its peak in the Seattle Archdiocese in the 1970s, the report said. Although half of all allegations of clergy abuse were received by the Archdiocese of Seattle in the past three years, more than 75 percent of the reported incidents occurred before 1980.


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