Studies uncover number of kids reporting molestations by priests
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two unprecedented studies that document pervasive sex abuse by U.S. Roman Catholic clergy found nearly 11,000 minors have alleged 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, a source who read the reports told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The abuse allegations were filed against 4,392 of the 109,694 clergy who served over the last half-century -- or about 4 percent of all clerics.
To release reports today
The National Review Board, a lay watchdog panel formed by the bishops, was scheduled to release the reports today in Washington. One is the church's first national accounting of molestation allegations and was conducted by John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The other is the board's own investigation into how the crisis developed.
The John Jay findings are based on information provided by most of the 195 American dioceses. Victims said any study by the church is bound to underestimate the number of abuse cases and that many of those who were hurt still haven't come forward.
Dioceses nationwide received 10,667 abuse allegations since 1950, according to a news release from the Diocese of Yakima, Wash. Of those, allegations by approximately 6,700 were substantiated. About 3,300 were not investigated because the accused clergymen were dead.