Philadelphia Trial Revives Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal
However the jury rules, the case carries symbolic freight far heavier than the grim details in the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, former secretary for the clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It revives the breadth and depth of the abuse crisis, its extraordinary costs and unending frustrations.
Lynn’s trial brings the ugly mess to mind “like it was yesterday,” said Mary Jane Doerr, associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection. “It’s still shocking, the degree of damage a handful of priests have done. When will the numbers ever stop?”
The statistics are staggering:
* More than 6,100 accused priests since 1950, Doerr said. She draws the number from two reports: a 2011 analysis by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and the latest annual report by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which tracks U.S. Catholic statistics.
* More than 16,000 victims, chiefly teenage boys, since 1950. However, “since there is no national database tracking clergy abuse, we may never really know how many victims there are across all the dioceses and across time,” said Mary Gautier, senior researcher for CARA.
* $2.5 billion in settlements and therapy bills for victims, attorneys’ fees, and costs to care for priests pulled out of ministry from 2004 to 2011, according to the CARA report released in April.