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Abuse scandal’s total cost: $2.74 billion since 2004

March 31, 2014

The clerical abuse scandal cost American dioceses $108,954,109 in 2013, according to a report released on March 28 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Only 62% of those funds were allotted to settlements ($61.1 million) and therapy for abuse victims ($6.1 million). The remaining funds were spent on attorneys’ fees ($28.9 million), support for offenders ($10.4 million), and other costs ($2.4 million), according to the 2013 “Report on the Implementation of the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People.”

The clerical abuse scandal cost religious institutes an additional $14,411,168 in 2013. These expenses brought the total cost of the clerical abuse scandal to American dioceses and religious institutes between 2004 and 2012 to $2,744,881,843: $2,351,903,157 for dioceses and eparchies, and $392,978,686 for religious institutes.

The report added that dioceses, eparchies, and religious orders spent $41,721,675 for child protection efforts in 2013.

During the 2013 audit period, “370 new credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor” were lodged by 365 persons-- nine of them minors, the rest of them adults who said they were abused when they were minors. “These allegations were made by 365 individuals against 290 priests or deacons,” the report stated. 56% of them “had already been identified in prior allegations,” and 73% “are deceased, already removed from ministry, already laicized, or missing.”

80% of those who alleged abuse were male, and abuse typically took place between the ages of 10 and 14. Most of the allegations involved incidents that took place between 1960 and 1989, particularly the 1970s.

50% of all recent allegations could not be proven, while 14% were classified as "substantiated" and 8% have been found to be unsubstantiated; in other cases, the investigation is ongoing.

On the other hand, the majority (53%) of allegations recently made by minors have been found to be unsubstantiated, while 18% have been substantiated.

The authors of the report criticized the Diocese of Lincoln and three Eastern Catholic eparchies for not taking part in an audit that measures compliance with the USCCB’s 2002 Dallas charter. The eparchies are the Chaldean Eparchy of Saint Peter the Apostle of San Diego, the Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg in New York for Armenian Catholics, and the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford.

StoneBridge Business Partners, which conducted the audit, noted that “most dioceses and all eparchies opted not to have StoneBridge conduct parish audits. Some dioceses countered that they perform their own audits and elected to opt out of having StoneBridge also audit them.”

“Parishes and schools represent the front lines in any diocese’s or eparchy’s Charter compliance efforts,” the auditor added. “If a diocese or eparchy does not conduct some form of audit of its parishes and schools-- whether by diocesan/eparchial representative or external auditor such as StoneBridge-- the bishop or eparch cannot be sure that Charter-related policies and procedures are clearly communicated and effectively carried out.”


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  • Posted by: unum - Apr. 01, 2014 10:37 AM ET USA

    From my perspective, the monetary cost of the clerical abuse scandal is insignificant, compared to the loss of trust in the hierarchy of the American Church by both the laity and the public. The monetary cost also pales in comparison to the demoralization of the innocent members clergy and religious whose integrity came into question and whose civil rights were tramples by the hierarchy in search of a way to deflect blame. Our Church may never have the full trust of the public and the laity

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Mar. 31, 2014 6:59 PM ET USA

    How many schools, orphanages, homes for the sick and aged, universities, etc. could have been built with that $2,744,881,843?

  • Posted by: koinonia - Mar. 31, 2014 1:44 PM ET USA

    Our reactions might vary; our sensibilities offended to a larger or lesser extent. However, this information is a striking and permanent part of the historical record. The reality is that pretty much across the board the rights of the baptized have been violated. This particular area is perhaps the most politically charged, but for quite some time many Catholic authority figures at all levels have struggled with a vocational identity crisis. As the saying goes: It is what it is. Testimony.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Mar. 31, 2014 7:18 AM ET USA

    This is in line with previous reports that 4 of 5 cases of abuse were sodomite in nature. It gives the lie to liberals' take on what happened, the fantasies that always managed to exculpate their current favorite sexual subculture. That's the only "good news" here. For the rest, what an indictment of our shepherds! How miserably they failed to meet even elementary standards of competence and decency! No gang of atheist zealots, regardless of how large, could have damaged the Church more.