US Catholic Church hands out $120 million to clergy sexual abuse victims

Annual report released by US Catholic Church reveals that $120 million compensated to victims of underage sexual abuse at hands of clergy

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops report showed that US Catholic Church has paid $120 million to the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy in the past 12 months.

The annual report covering between June of 2013 and 2014 also said $30 million were granted to pedophile prevention programs. It said total of $150 million in one year period was spent on expenses accumulated for compensating, therapy and legal fees for the victims while other expenses included prevention programs aimed to stop pedophilia.

Annual study has been conducted by the US bishops since 2002 as sexual abuse allegations surfaced then.

According to the report, 657 cases of underage sexual abuse that took place years earlier have been notified out of which 130 cases were recognised while 243 are still under investigation. The rest of the reported cases failed to provide proof.

Despite the make-up efforts to the victims of sexual abuse and to prevent phedophile, the appointment of a controversial bishop in Chile recently has intensified the accountability of the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse cases.

Pope Francis had pledged a zero-tolerance policy towards clergy involved in sexual abuse since his election in March 2013.

Yet, recently appointed bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros is accused of covering up a child abuse. Protests broke out during Barros’ installation ceremony late March where about 3,000 people were reported to be demonstrating and called on Barros to resign.

In February, a Spanish court had dropped charges against nine out of 10 Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing an altar boy.

A letter from the victims of sexual abuse by pedophile priests in majority Catholic countries in the Americas was sent in February to Pope Francis, urging the Catholic Church to allow civilian punishment for pedophile priests and asking the church to stop covering up such actions.

Some of the victims questioned the pope's commitment to fighting pedophilia in the Church, saying that recent admonishments of sex abuse in the Church are "ambiguous and contradictory" because they do not lead to any "institutional process toward truth and justice."

TRTWorld and agencies