2008 saw a rise in the number of Catholic clergy sexual abuse claims. Last year 803 individuals reported past abuse; the highest number of cases brought before the Catholic Church in a single year.

Despite the increase in abuse claims and the corresponding settlements the amount of money actually paid out by the Catholic Church was less than in preceding years. This has brought attention to the practices that the Church is using to mediate damage to its reputation and finances.

"Unfortunately, many dioceses are conducting the investigations themselves without also making a report to civil authorities," the researchers said. Advocates have repeatedly encouraged victims to make their first report to police, not the church.

As more abuse victims follow the Catholic Church's prescribed path of compensation, fewer cases ever see a court room. Only about 30% of victims settle their claims with an attorney, and as media exposure declines, so does public pressure to reform Church policy.

The statistics of abuse continue to outrage The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who say that the Church's self policing policies do not offer a solution to the continuing problems.

We challenge church officials to provide clear, specific information (on every diocesan website and at the national level) about which predators have been defrocked and which have not
In almost every case, church authorities have vast resources they could use to warn unsuspecting families about these dangerous sex offenders, including their known or suspected or recent whereabouts. But sadly, the Catholic hierarchy largely still prefers to protect itself from embarrassment instead of protecting children from crimes.

To date the Catholic Church has spent over 2.6 billion dollars settling cases of clergy abuse.


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