Accusations of sexual abuse against Catholic clergy quadrupled in 2019

The number of allegations of sexual abuse against members of the Catholic clergy quadrupled in 2019 compared to the previous five years, United States church officials reported in an annual audit released this week.

The audit examined reports from 200 dioceses and church entities across the country since 2002, when reports of accusations and cover-ups exploded.

The report, which ran from July 2018 to June 2019, featured 4,434 allegations of clergy sexual abuse against children. That’s more than 1,451 in 2018, 693 in 2017, 1,318 in 2016, and 903 in 2015.

Of the complaints reported this year, 2,237 were deemed “credible” by the church.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, a church-affiliated research center, found that of the credible 2019 allegations whose timeframe could be determined, 57 percent occurred before 1975, 41 percent between 1975 and 1999 and 2 percent since 2000.

The report states that the small number of claims made this year compared to others reflects a step in the right direction.

“This audit reflects the efforts of the dioceses / eparchies. It highlights the gaps and nearby flaws that, if left unattended, will become bigger gaps and bigger problems, “he wrote. Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the Secretariat for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Francesco C. Cesareo, president of the National Board of Review, said the church needs to find a more independent audit of a group not affiliated with the church.

The current audit is done with self-reported data from churches, which also determine which allegations are credible.