When the nation's Roman Catholic bishops meet today to decide how to deal with priests accused of sexually abusing children and teens, they'll start with a handicap. Nearly a year into the scandal, the bishops have yet to compile a detailed accounting of the problem they face. They have collected no national data on how many priests have been accused, how many are serial offenders, how many are still in the church, or even how many are dead.
....The findings [in the newspaper's study] are drawn from a USA TODAY database compiled from church statements, media reports and court documents. The research identified 900 accused priests across the USA and analyzed data for the archdioceses of Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York and Philadelphia; and the dioceses of Brooklyn; Rockville Centre, Long Island; and Orange, Calif. These 10 dioceses are home to 31% of the nation's 65 million Catholics.
Church officials in nine of the 10 dioceses — all except Boston — verified names and status of the accused priests who have been removed.The findings are consistent with other reports but reveal more detail. Mosst recently, an Associated Press report Sunday found that 325 priests had been taken out of ministry nationwide from their posts since the beginning of the year. SurvivorsFirst, a new victims advocacy group, has announced plans to release a public Internet database Tuesday of more than 600 accused priests compiled from newspaper articles.
There are several other stories in the paper - linked on the right side of the page - that are worth your time.