Discussion Points on the 2004 Survey of Clergy Sexual Abuse
reports will be released Friday, Feb. 27, 2004.
first study quantifies the extent of clergy abuse since 1950 and was
conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
second report is a qualitative analysis of the issue commissioned by the
National Review Board and attempts to provide “context and causes.”
contained in the John Jay study were self reported by most dioceses in the
U.S. and provide data on:
many priests have been credibly accused of abusing minors since 1950
many victims have come forward
much the dioceses have paid in settlements and related costs.
National Review Board report is the result of interviews with
approximately 75 bishops, priests, abuse victims and experts from areas
such as treatment, law enforcement and child protection. The board's
"causes and context" report is to serve as a basic framework for
establishing a more extensive, scientific study into the reasons behind
the clergy sexual abuse crisis.
in the field of child abuse say there is no other comparable study by any
church or organization and -- despite predictable flaws in a first-of-it’s-kind
research project– they say the study will be enormously useful.
We deeply regret these terrible
events and are especially concerned for victims of past abuse and their
families. We will continue to reach out with care and compassion to all
One of our main concerns is the
safety for children and all vulnerable individuals in our care.
Our local prevention efforts, in
place since 1987, are designed to prevent the mistakes of the past from being
An independent audit found the
Archdiocese of Seattle in complete compliance with strict national
We hope our commitment to public
accountability will strengthen efforts to prevent sexual abuse throughout the
church and society.
- The John Jay College and National Review Board studies
were conducted at the request of the bishops.
- We deeply regret these occurrences. One victim is one too many. One priest guilty of sexually abusing a
minor is one too many.
- This statistical data is submitted for public scrutiny
with heartfelt remorse for every incident of past abuse and the failure to
- The church has made a concerted effort to get this
information out, and while they can’t change history, they are firmly
committed that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. The charter implemented two years ago
- All allegations reported to civil authorities
- All priests found guilty of abuse removed from
- Every diocese have a review board to assess
allegations and determine accused priests’ suitability to remain in
- While we know these statistics may stir further
controversy, several things are clear:
- The church is fulfilling its commitment to full
- These studies are an unprecedented example of
- The church’s ongoing pastoral care, training, and
background checks are working to protect children and create a safe
environment for past victims to come forward.
- The Archdiocese of Seattle’s efforts to prevent abuse
of children was described as “a national model” by independent auditors.
- The Archdiocese received special commendation for its
Archdiocesan Review Board made up of community professionals and experts.
- Most incidents reported locally and in the national
study are decades old.
- Even one case of abuse by a member of the clergy is one
too many. But it is important to
note that although half of all allegations of clergy abuse received
by the Archdiocese of Seattle came forward in the last three years, more
than 75 percent of the reported incidents occurred prior to 1980.
- Our policies and procedures are working. Victims of past abuse are coming
forward to receive pastoral care, and prevention policies have created
safe environments for individuals in our care.
- Archbishop Brunett has met with every victim that
requested it, and the Archdiocese remains open to hearing from and helping
victims who have not yet come forward.
- This study, requested by the bishops, can become a
positive step toward finding solutions to the pervasive societal problem
of child sexual abuse.
- Sadly, child sexual abuse is a very real problem that
afflicts the church and society.
Our hope is that this act of transparency will begin a broad public
dialogue and mark a turning point in efforts to protect children.
# # #