Although Catholic diocese in the U.S. have recently stepped up to release lists of abusers, releasing the names of over 5,800 clergy members, there are serious inconsistencies and omissions. Part of the problem is that dioceses and religious orders are in charge of releasing lists of names and determining who should be put on the lists. (ProPublica, January 18, 2020, by Lexi Churchill, Ellis Simani and Topher Sanders)
John Salberg, a Catholic and teacher, East Bay Times, January 31, 2020, is buoyed by the California Attorney General’s decision last year to investigate the Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse allegations. He reported that after suffering from a priest’s sexual abuse as a child, as an adult he could not get the Bishop to acknowledge the abuse and finally had to file a lawsuit against the diocese and won a $1.5 million award in a jury trial. Salberg wants the Vatican to establish an independent secular body to investigate abuse claims.
The U.S. Catholic Bishops acted in 2002 to require dioceses and religious orders to fight clerical abuse by reporting all abuse to law enforcement, establishing lay review boards to review all cases, submitting to yearly audits to ensure compliance, removing confirmed abusers from the clergy for life, and providing child protection training for employees, volunteers and even children. Recent studies show that there is now only an average of one new case per year in the U.S., 700 times higher a few decades ago. (Psychology Today, August 1, 2019, by Thomas G. Plante Ph.D.)