It looks like when the final numbers of sex abuse cases, money spent, and abusers alleged are released next month, the Diocese of Cleveland could be among the worst. Some early estimates places the number of victims at about 1,000.
But there are some caveats. For one thing, the origin of the report is the diocesan chief financial officer who was suspended this month on questions of financial wrongdoing. For another thing, it is in the interests of some people to artificially inflate the numbers. Someone in the diocese could leak high numbers, let the storm hit, and then release the true, lower numbers in February and make it appear that the Scandal in Cleveland was smaller in comparison. Or a victims’ activist could be trying to inflate the numbers so that when a smaller number is released later, they can claim that the bishops can’t be trusted to police themselves.
So basically what we know now is nothing. We have some rumors and that’s it. What can’t be disputed, though, is that had bishops and dioceses been upfront all those years ago, we wouldn’t be in the position to have squirm and fidget about how many kids were abused in Cleveland or anywhere else.