Bishop's report: US Church received 783 new abuse claims in 2005, but most are decades old

.- Results of the United States Catholic bishops’ third nationwide audit show that dioceses nationwide  received a total of 783 new claims of sex abuse by clergy in 2005, although  most of the allegations involve cases that are decades old. In 2004, the number of new claims for that year was 1,092.

The third audit, as with the first two, were conducted by the Gavin Group, a private firm that employed teams comprised mainly of former FBI agents.

The new claims, reported yesterday, bring the total number of accusations against Catholic clergy to more than 12,000 since 1950.

However, this year’s audit drew some criticism because of changes in how it was conducted. In the first two annual audits, nearly all 195 dioceses received an on site visit. During the most recent review, 104 dioceses simply filled out a questionnaire; the others were visited.

Prior to the new audit, the abuse problem was known to have cost dioceses more than $1 billion since 1950.

But the cost in 2005 alone was nearly $467 million, including settlements, therapy for victims, support for offenders and attorneys' fees, among other things,says the report.

A separate report found a slight decline in compliance with all of the provisions of the bishops’ 2002 sex abuse policy. Only 88.5 percent of dioceses were fully compliant compared with more than 95 percent the year before.

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