National--New studies show Catholic abuse crisis costs $4 billion
For immediate release: Monday, November 2
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected]
New studies show Catholic abuse crisis costs $4 billion
Two solid pieces of new research show that the cost of the Catholic church abuse and cover up crisis is at least $4 billion, much higher than bishops have previously disclosed. We’re not surprised. If powerful men will hide clergy sex crimes and cover ups, they’ll surely hide the costs of that wrongdoing too.
We urge Catholics and former Catholics who have stopped donating to church officials give instead to organizations that expose child sex crimes, not institutions that enable child sex crimes.
And we urge everyone to remember who is responsible for this horrific pain and high cost: selfish bishops who fixate on advancing their clerical careers rather than protecting their vulnerable flocks.
A few years ago, Catholic researchers admitted that some 100,000 boys and girls in the US have been sexually assaulted by priests. We believe that’s a low estimate. Still, that’s the figure we beg citizens and Catholics to remember: the number of lives that have been devastated is more important than the number of dollars that have been paid out.
In the National Catholic Reporter, Diane and Jack Ruhl report that
--So far this year, US Catholic officials have made at least seven confidential settlements with victims.
--“There are no uniform reporting standards for public disclosure of financial records for U.S. Catholic dioceses. (Of) the 197 dioceses. . .NCR could find only 60 that had made some kind of public financial report available for 2014.”
Also in the NCR, economist Ricardo Perez-Truglia says that “Some priests are responsible for a very, very large cut" in charitable giving. That’s misleading. The blame lies just as squarely on the predators’ church supervisors and colleagues who often actively conceal or passively ignore the crimes.
Some will say that Catholic officials must “rebuild trust” with lay people. We disagree. Horrific abuse and deliberate cover ups of clergy sex crimes are still happening. So the church hierarchy – and the rest of us – must focus first on exposing child sex crimes and deterring cover ups. When that’s happened – and we’re a long ways off still – then and only then can “restoring trust” among adults begin to matter.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)