National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  December 26, 2003

Dioceses turn in sex abuse tallies

As 2003 drew to a close, several dioceses released figures on the number of clergy accused of sex abuse of minors since 1950 (or the founding of a diocese) and on the money spent in settlements and on related issues. The U.S. bishops commissioned a national survey to examine the scope of the clergy sex abuse scandal. National figures are to be released Feb. 27. Many reports are available on diocesan Web sites or from diocesan newspapers.

St. Paul-Minneapolis: Thirty-three priests -- 26 archdiocesan priests and seven priests from religious orders or other dioceses working in the archdiocese -- had credible allegations of abuse brought against them by 69 people. All allegations involved incidents that reportedly occurred before 1988. About $6.7 million has been spent on sex abuse matters. Insurance covered more than half the expenses. None of the funds are coming from annual contributions by parishioners

Albany, N.Y.: Fifty-three priests have been accused of abuse by 121 people. Allegations against 18 of the priests were credible and of these 18 are no longer in active ministry. Another 15 priests are being investigated, 11 priests have been cleared. Nine priests are dead and two resigned from ministry long before accusations surfaced.

New Orleans: Eight priests and two deacons have had credible allegations of sex abuse of minors and none are in ministry. Allegations against seven other clerics were deemed “not credible” and three are still being reviewed. More than $2 million has been paid in legal settlements, therapy and legal fees. Insurance covered half the expenses.

Altoona-Johnstown, Pa.: Sixteen credible allegations were made against priests since 1950 while allegations against another 11 “were not able to be substantiated.” Of the 16, three are dead, eight have been suspended from public ministry, one has been dismissed from the clerical state and the Vatican is reviewing four cases.

Gallup, N.M.: Credible accusations were made against eight priests and deacons involving 11 minors and $190,000 has been paid in settlements -- $15,000 by the diocese, $40,000 by an insurance carrier and $135,000 by a local institute.

Duluth, Minn.: 42 people made accusations against 14 diocesan and four religious-order priests. No priest accused of the sexual abuse of a minor is in active ministry. Some have died, others were already retired at the time of the allegations and those who were in parish positions “left in response to the allegation,” the report says. One accused priest was exonerated and one allegation was withdrawn.

Manchester, N.H.: Since the late 1940s, 227 child sex abuse cases have been settled for a total of $20.3 million; 207 of these have been settled since July 2001 for a total of $18.9 million. Four cases are outstanding. Insurance has paid more than 40 percent of settlements.

Miami: Thirty-eight priests have faced allegations of sex abuse of minors since 1958 and the archdiocese paid $9.3 million in settlement, legal and counseling costs for sex abuse cases involving priests, laity, and religious brothers and sisters. Money came from insurance.

Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind.: Thirty-three credible allegations were made against 16 priests since 1950. Accusations against 11 other priests could not be substantiated. Since 1985, $1.4 million has been spent on settlements and other sex abuse related costs. The diocese paid $835,000 with the rest coming from insurers.

St. Petersburg, Fla.: Since 1968 there have been credible accusations against 10 priests. $750,000 in settlements and $311,000 for counseling, legal services, and to establish safe environment programs has come from insurers or existing reserves in diocesan insurance funds. Many dioceses releasing data have kept the names of priests secret, but St. Petersburg diocese named the 10 priests.

-- Catholic News Service

National Catholic Reporter, December 26, 2003

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