Data Begin to Emerge on the Scope of Abuse

The scope of child sexual abuse in the Catholic church is slowly emerging, as individual dioceses begin to voluntarily release abuse data. In the US, 96 of 178 dioceses (54 percent) have made public the names of credibly accused clerics in lists totaling more than 2,600 individuals. While not revealing the identities of the accused, the US Council of Catholic Bishops has acknowledged that credible accusations have been lodged against 6,721 clerics since 1950. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has received 3,420 credible reports of abuse in just the past 10 years. These numbers likely contain significant overlaps, making an accurate tally impossible. Moreover, church leaders in many countries, including majority Catholic nations like France and Mexico, have yet to release any information to the public. Studies based on publicly available information have estimated that between 4 percent and 5 percent of clergy have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse.

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