"Celtic Franciscan Rosary" by + Alan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scandals, compensation programs lead Catholic clergy sex abuse complaints to quadruple in 2019

Jul 2, 2020

By Michelle Boorstein

The number of allegations of Catholic clergy sex abuse of minors more than quadrupled in 2019 compared to the average in the previous five years, U.S. church officials reported this week, in part the result of new church-run compensation programs for victims as well as survivors driven to come forward by several major clerical abuse scandals.

The annual audit of nearly 200 dioceses and church entities across the country has been done since 2002, when reports of clergy abuse and coverups exploded and U.S. bishops approved reforms, including a yearly review of complaints and compliance. The reform package is often called the “Charter.”

The report released Thursday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the 2019 report — which covered July 2018 through June 2019 — counted 4,434 allegations of clergy sex abuse against minors. That number was 1,451 in 2018, 693 in 2017, 1,318 in 2016 and 903 in 2015.

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