A U.S. Roman Catholic Commissioned audit completed on Monday showed that church related sexual abuse claims in the U.S. rose in 2010. According to the report, there were 428 new sexual abuse allegations in 2010, a 7% increase since 2009. As a result, the U.S. Catholic Church and its insurers paid over $124 million dollars to settle claims last year, a nearly $20 million dollar increase from 2009. The number of claims is still significantly less than the peak year of 2004 when 889 sexual abuse allegations were reported by the Church. These record numbers came on the heels of a widely publicized abuse scandal that broke in Boston, MA, about a decade ago. Since that time the U.S. Catholic Church has paid for the annual independent audit of sexual abuse claims. The U.S. Catholic church is now approaching $3 billion dollars in total settlements paid to sexual abuse victims.
The upward trend in credible sexual abuse allegations levied against the Church has been met with criticism by victims’ rights groups. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (“SNAP”) issued a statement in response to the uptick indicting the bishops for refusing to abide by their own ‘vague and weak policies.’ Of the 345 clergy accused of sexual abuse in 2010, two thirds had already been removed from the ministry or had died.
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