How times have changed. Seven years ago, when the US Conference of Catholic Bishops were releasing statistics on how many clergy were sexually abusing children, you could barely push your way into their packed press conference. Today, with their latest statement, there was not even a presser - just a release sent out to media.
In it, which is here, they said that out of the 398 allegations reported in 2009, six (2 percent) occurred last year and 71 percent occurred between 1950-1984. Which supports their claim that abuse stats are essentially a clean-up operation from decades past with 1975-1979 being the high point.
Most of the abuse reported in 2009 was against pre-teen or teen-age males, we should note.
Forty-eight of the allegations were found to be false or unsubstantiated. The cost to Catholic dioceses was $104 million in settlements, attorneys fees, etc.
Some of us who’ve been reporting on this, however, still feel that the whole story on the sex abuse crisis has not been told by a long shot.
- Julia Duin, religion editor