Annual Compliance Audit Shows Decline In Abuse Allegations, Victims, Offenders

WASHINGTON—The annual audit ofdiocesan compliance with the Charter forthe Protection of Children and Young People found a drop in the number ofallegations, number of victims and number of offenders reported in 2012.

WASHINGTON—The annual audit ofdiocesan compliance with the Charter forthe Protection of Children and Young People found a drop in the number ofallegations, number of victims and number of offenders reported in 2012.

The Center for Applied Research in theApostolate (CARA), which gathered data for the report, found "the fewestallegations and victims reported since the data collection for the annualreports began in 2004."

Most allegations reported last year werefrom the seventies and eighties with many of the alleged offenders alreadydeceased or removed from ministry in the priesthood.

StoneBridge Business Partners, whichconducts the audits, said law enforcement found six credible cases among 34allegations of abuse of minors in 2012 itself. Credibility of 15 of theallegations was still under investigation. Law enforcement found 12 allegationsto be unfounded or unable to be proven, and one a boundary violation.

Almost all dioceses were foundcompliant with the audit. Three were found non-compliant with one article ofthe Charter. The Diocese of LakeCharles, Louisiana, was faulted because its review board had not met in severalyears. (The diocese had no allegations during that time). The Diocese of Tulsa,Oklahoma, was faulted because auditors could not determine if parishes providedsafe environment training to religious education students and volunteerteachers. The Diocese of Baker, Oregon, was faulted because students did notreceive safe environment training while a new program was being developed. Thediocese has since begun training.

The report can be found at

The annual report has two parts. Thefirst is the compliance report of StoneBridge, which conducted on-site auditsof 71 dioceses and eparchies and reviewed documentation submitted by 118 others.The Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, and five Eastern rite dioceses, known aseparchies, refused to be audited.

The second part is the "2012 Surveyof Allegations and Costs," conducted by CARA.The Lincoln Diocese refused to cooperate with the survey, and theEparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles did not respond by the cut-offdate.

The StoneBridge audit, in additionto finding most dioceses Charter compliant,reported that "over 99 percent of clerics and over 96 percent of employees andvolunteers were trained" in safe environment programs. "In addition, over 4.6million children received safe environment training. Background evaluationswere conducted on over 99 percent of clerics; 98 percent of educators; 96 percentof employees; and 96 percent of volunteers."

StoneBridge cited limitations,including "the unwillingness of most dioceses and eparchies to allow us toconduct parish audits during their on-site audits." It said that "the auditorsmust rely solely on the information provided by the diocese or eparchy, insteadof observing the program firsthand."

Another limitation is staff turnoverin diocesan child abuse prevention programs. As a result, "records are oftenlost, and successors to the position are often placed in key roles withoutformal orientation," StoneBridge reported.

Al J. Notzon, III, chairman of the NationalReview Board (NRB), which oversees the audits, echoed StoneBridge concerns in aletter to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conferenceof Catholic Bishops. Notzon highlighted the importance of good record-keeping"and the great significance of involving parishes in the audit process."

"Abuse happened in the parisheswhere our children learn and live their young, growing faith," Notzon said."From the NRB's perspective, parish participation in the audit process is anessential next step in what 'makes the Charterreal' for laity in those parishes. What we have come to see is that protectingchildren from sexual abuse is a race without a finish and more rather than lesseffort is necessary to keep this sacred responsibility front and center."

Cardinal Dolan in a preface to thereport commended clergy, employees and volunteers trained in safe environment.

"At the same time we also renew oursteadfast resolution never to lessen our common commitment to protect childrenand young people entrusted to our pastoral care," he said. "We seek with equaldetermination to promote healing and reconciliation for those harmed in the past,and to assure that our audits continue to be credible and maintainaccountability in our shared promise to protect and our pledge to heal."

In data gathering from dioceses,CARA noted there were 397 allegations, most of them from decades past, against 313priests or deacons, by 390 individuals. About 84 percent of the victims weremale. Half were between 10 and 14 when the abuse began. An estimated 17 percentwere between 15 and17, and 19 percent were under age 10.

Dioceses and eparchies that respondedto the survey reported costs related to allegations at $112,966,427 in 2012. Expensescovered settlements, attorney fees, therapy for victims and support foroffenders. The total amount expended for dioceses, eparchies and religiousorders was $148,338,437. Dioceses and religious orders also spent $26,583,087for child protection programs.


Keywords: Charter forthe Protection of Children and Young People, U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops, USCCB, Al Notzon III, National Review Board, NRB, StoneBridge BusinessPartners, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, CARA, Cardinal TimothyDolan, clergy sexual abuse, child sexual abuse

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