Data bite

March 23, 2004

The first-ever tally of clergy sexual abuse by the Catholic Church revealed the status of the crisis in the nation’s largest dioceses. The national report, by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, found 4,392 abusive priests and 10,667 victims, which cost the church hundreds of millions in legal settlement and counseling fees through 2002. A companion report by the church’s National Review Board singled out three of the ten largest dioceses—Los Angeles, Boston and Rockville Centre (Long Island)—for problems relating to the abuse crisis. The report faulted Los Angeles, the nation’s most populous archdiocese, for a “very public spat” over Cardinal Roger Mahony’s lack of cooperation with prosecutors and his resistance to the release of documents. “This argument did little to enhance the reputation of the church in the U.S. for transparency and cooperation,” the report said.