Monday, February 16, 2004

The Sanctity of the Catholic Church
NEW YORK (AP) -- A draft of the upcoming national survey of sex abuse claims against Roman Catholic priests has been viewed by CNN, which reported Monday that 4,450 clergy have been accused of molesting minors since 1950.

The draft survey said 11,000 abuse claims have been filed against the U.S. churchmen during that period, CNN reported.

The survey is being overseen by the National Review Board, a lay watchdog panel the American bishops formed, and conducted by researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

John Jay refused to comment on the CNN report, while board members contacted Monday by The Associated Press wouldn't say whether or not the latest statistics were accurate. They stressed the report is not finished, and that any numbers tallied so far could change before the study is released Feb. 27.

The figures are roughly in keeping with a trend the AP reported on last week.

Some individual dioceses have released the abuse statistics they compiled for the national survey, and the AP has been tracking those reports. Through Monday, 84 of 195 U.S. dioceses had reported claims - with 1,413 clergy accused of abuse since 1950. Tens of thousands of priests worked in those dioceses during that period.

The number of accused clergy is already much greater than the scope of abuse previously estimated by victims' groups and the media.

'I would hope that the public would kind of withhold any immediate judgment until they get the full story on Feb. 27th,' said Leon Panetta, the former Clinton White House chief of staff and a National Review Board member.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Yes, we wouldn't want to make any moral judgments - it's not as though these priests (that have been protected by 'the church') were in consensual, loving same-sex relationships and wanted the right to marry.


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