Two unprecedented studies that document pervasive sex abuse by U.S. Roman Catholic clergy found nearly 11,000 minors have claimed they were molested since 1950, and that bishops bear much of the responsibility for the crisis. One document says their failure to stop predators let the “smoke of Satan” into the church.
The studies — commissioned by America’s bishops — found that 80 percent of the alleged victims were male and that just over half said they were between ages 11 and 14 when they were assaulted, according to the Associated Press.
The abuse claims were filed against 4,392 of the 109,694 clergy who served over the last half-century — or about 4 percent of all clerics.
The National Review Board, a lay watchdog panel formed by the bishops, was scheduled to release the reports Friday in Washington. One is the church’s first national accounting of molestation claims and was conducted by John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The other is the board’s own investigation into how the crisis developed.
The national report calculated abuse-related costs such as litigation and counseling at $533 million. The AP has been tracking reports from individual bishops of their own tallies of abuse costs and so far, 137 dioceses have already said they spent more than $573.3 million to address the problem.