Speaking of the Scandal, the USCCB reports that the number of new claims for clergy sex-abuse have dropped for the second year in a row: 714 cases, down from 783 in 2005 and 1,092 in 2004. This isn’t exactly surprising since there was a lot of pent-up complaints in 2002 when the story first broke. It would take some time for those thousands of cases that took place over decades to be brought forth.
The report also says that the costs related to abuse cases has dropped by about 15 percent over the previous year, but I think that’s somewhat deceptive since the Los Angeles cases are being dragged out and when they are finally done—whether through settlement or litigation—it’s going to make all others pale by comparison.
Of course, the increasingly marginalized Voice of the Faithful has to weigh in:
John Moynihan, a spokesman for Voice of the Faithful, a lay reform group seeking more transparency from Catholic leaders, said he considers the 714 figure “huge” considering how long the crisis has dragged on. More than 13,000 molestation claims have been filed against clergy since 1950. Bishops say abuse-related costs have exceeded $1.5 billion since then.