The organization yesterday released an update on the sex abuse crisis still roiling the Catholic Church:
Reports of current instances of sexual abuse of minors continues to decrease, with seven credible allegations against seven priests reported in 2010, according to the 2010 Survey of Allegations and Costs done by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, CARA. At the same time diocesan audits are uncovering weaknesses in audit compliance and finding reports of boundary violations short of abuse, such as inappropriate hugging.
A credible allegation is one which has a semblance of truth to it following an initial examination of the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegation.
The survey by Georgetown University-based CARA collects numbers from the dioceses and coincides with the annual audit of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, conducted by the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection. The audit reviews compliance with the Charter, and is conducted by a team of independent auditors, the Gavin Group Inc. Both the survey and audit report are available on the Web at http://www.usccb.org/ocyp/annual-report-2010.pdf.
All dioceses responded to the CARA survey except the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, which has refused to participate in the compliance audits process since 2004. The U.S. bishops enacted the Charter in 2002 and have conducted national compliance audits annually since 2003.
In addition to the seven cases of abuse of minors in 2010, CARA also found hundreds of accounts of sexual abuse from decades ago that were reported to dioceses only last year. The “number of alleged offenders increased by a fifth, from 286 alleged offenders reported in 2009 to 345 alleged offenders reported in 2010,” CARA reported. Almost 60 percent of these offenders had been identified in earlier allegations and three quarters of the offenders are now dead or laicized.
CARA also noted that two thirds of these allegations (66 percent) are old and occurred or began between 1960 and 1984. The most common time period when these allegations reportedly occurred was 1970-1974.