Infographic: Annual audit tracks increase in allegations of historic abuse incidents
The latest annual audit of children protection sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, released the same day Father McWilliams was sentenced (Nov. 9, 2021), reported that more than 4,200 allegations of sexual abuse by clergy were made between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. The annual audit tracks not only new charges of abuse but also how well U.S. dioceses and eparchies are observing child protection protocols established in 2002 by the U.S.C.C.B. in accordance with its “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
“Due in part to the changes in some state statutes of limitations regarding the time during which claims may be made and increased publicity, the number of allegations reported in 2019 was significantly high and this trend continued in 2020,” according to the report. “It should be noted that the vast majority of these reports were historical in nature.”
4,228 historic allegations of sexual abuse by clergy were reported in fiscal 2020, but 22 allegations involved current year minors—consisting of 13 males, eight females and one unknown. Six of the allegations were substantiated; seven investigations were ongoing, two were unsubstantiated, three were categorized as “unable to be proven,” and four categorized as “other.”
Despite unprecedented challenges because of the Covid-19 pandemic, auditors physically visited 10 dioceses and, using remote technologies, virtually visited 51 other dioceses and eparchies. Of the 61 dioceses and eparchies included in the audit, 57 received a finding of “compliance” in implementing all charter mandates.