Child Abuse Index

Summer 2002

The number of children defrocked priest John G. Geoghan is alleged to have abused(1): 130

The amount of the settlement that the Boston archdiocese backed out of with John Geoghan’s victims(2): $15-$30 million

The annual income the church in the US receives from its 20,000 parishes(3): $7.5 billion

An estimate of the amount of money already paid out by the Catholic church in the US to victims of sexual abuse(4): $1 billion

The number of US priests who have either been removed from duty or placed on administrative leave in the first five months of 2002(5): 218

The number of US priests removed from office in previous years(6): 355

The number of US priests accused of the sexual abuse of minors since the 1960s(7): 866

The number of US priests who have served time in prison for the sexual abuse of minors(8): 80

Six bishops have resigned so far in 2002 over accusations related to the sexual abuse of minors, one each in Ireland and Poland and four in the US.(9)

Ten percent of active clergy were removed from duty in Belleville, Illinois, in 1992-1993 as a result of charges of sexual misconduct.(10)

According to the former chairman of Hill & Knowlton, Robert L. Dilenschneider, the scandal is an 11 on a scale of one to ten. Dilenschneider also managed the Three Mile Island nuclear power crisis.(11)

Seventy-one percent of US Catholics believe that church leaders who mishandled cases of sexual abuse should resign.(12)

The number of priests treated at one of the church’s programs for sexual offenders among the priesthood in Silver Spring, Maryland since 1997(13): 121

In 1994, the Irish government was forced to resign after it delayed the extradition of Fr. Brendan Smyth to Northern Ireland to face sexual abuse charges. Convicted pedophile Smyth pleaded guilty in 1997 to 74 counts of sexual abuse related to 20 different boys. He died in prison a month later. (14)

It took the New York archdiocese just six weeks to decide that its new guidelines on dealing with cases of sexual abuse were inadequate.(15)

The number of legal cases pending in Rhode Island, the smallest state in the US(16): 38

The largest jury award for sexual abuse was $119 million for 11 victims in Dallas, 1997. It was eventually settled for $23.4 million.(17)


1. Washington Post, May 11, 2002; 2. New York Times, May 4, 2002; 3/4. Business Week, April 15, 2002; 5/6/7. Washington Post, June 9, 2002; 8. New York Times, May 10, 2002; 9. Washington Post, June 12, 2002; 10. National Catholic Reporter, April 26, 2002; 11. Business Week, April 15, 2002; 12. New York Times, May 3, 2002; 13. Washington Post, May 11, 2002; 14.Washington Post, August 24, 1997; 15. New York Times, May 16, 2002; 16/17. Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2002.

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