The Catholic Church’s annual compliance audit for 2012 reveals a drop in the number of sex abuse allegations, victims and offenders amongst the dioceses across the United States, since 2004, when data has begun to be collected, according to a report from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Thursday, May 9.
In an effort to protect our children, every diocese within the United States must comply with an audit that reports on the implementation of the Charter for the protection of Children and Young People.
StoneBridge Business Partners conducted the audits while the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate gathered the data for the 2012 annual report released for May 2013. The information gathered showed “the fewest allegations and victims (of sexual abuse) reported (within the Catholic Church) since the data for the annual reports began in 2004.” Additionally, law enforcement validated six cases among 34 allegations of sex abuse to a minor in 2012, however 15 are still under investigation, 12 were unable to be proven and one is a “boundary violation.”
Most of the 397 total allegations reported in the 2012 data were from the seventies and eighties: 313 were against priests or deacons, by 390 individuals, with 84% of the sex abuse victims being male. Half were between the ages of 10 and 14 when the sex abuse began and an estimated 17% were between the ages of 15 and17, while 19% percent were under the age of 10. Many of the sex offenders have since died or have been removed from the priesthood.
Three United States Catholic dioceses were found to be non-compliant with the annual audit. The Diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana was criticized because the review board had failed to meet in several years, although the diocese had no reported sex abuse allegations during that time. It could not be determined if the parishes within the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma had provided safe environment training to religious education students and volunteer teachers. The third diocese has since made the corrections suggested by the audit. Within the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, students also did not receive the safe environment training as a new program was being introduced. The Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska and five eparchies (Eastern rite dioceses) refused to be audited
It was also found within the 2012 annual compliance audit that over 99% of clerics and 96% of employees and volunteer were trained in safe environment programs in addition to an outstanding number of children who received the safe environment training.
Over 4.6 million children received safe environment training. Background evaluations were conducted on over 99 percent of clerics; 98 percent of educators; 96 percent of employees; and 96 percent of volunteers.
In the preface to the 2012 report, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB, commended all those who participated in the safe environment training to protect our children from sex abuse.
At the same time we also renew our steadfast resolution never to lessen our common commitment to protect children and young people entrusted to our pastoral care. We seek with equal determination to promote healing and reconciliation for those harmed in the past, and to assure that our audits continue to be credible and maintain accountability in our shared promise to protect and our pledge to heal.
To view the full text from the Catholic Church’s 2012 annual compliance audit on the implantation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People from sex abuse, click the links below.
Sources: USCCB and Diocese of Rockville Centre
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