US Bishops Report Rise in Abuse Claims

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a report in May that revealed significantly more new abuse claims and higher settlements to victims in recent months, according to Reuters. From July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, 838 individuals said they had been abused as children by a member of a religious order, up 35 percent from the 620 cases reported the previous period.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Francesco C. Cesareo, chairman of the lay National Review Board, said that earlier progress on the issue might “foster a false sense of security and lead to complacency.”

Lawyer Marci Hamilton told Religion News Service that recent diocesan bankruptcies and an increase in statutes of limitations might have contributed to the trend. “All these survivors come out of the woodwork who might never have done so except that this looks like it’s their only chance,” Hamilton said.

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