US Catholic Officials Field Nearly 600 Clergy Abuse Claims, Pay Out $144 Million, in 2011
Roman Catholic dioceses and religious orders said they received 594 credible claims of clergy sex abuse last year, with all but a few of the allegations involving wrongdoing that occurred decades ago, according to a study released Tuesday by American bishops.
Church officials reported paying more than $144 million in settlements and related costs last year, as the scandal over priests who molested children continued to batter the church.
The findings are from annual reports commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to check compliance with the 2002 child safety plan they adopted soon after the crisis erupted in Boston and spread nationwide. The policy includes a pledge to remove all credibly accused priests from church work, create support programs for victims and conduct background checks on employees who work with children. Dioceses have spent tens of millions of dollars on abuse prevention programs over the last decade.