Archive for November 21st, 2019

Church sex abuse boards often undermine victims, help clergy / Associated Press

The AP checked all the roughly 180 dioceses in the U.S. for information, reviewed thousands of pages of church and court records and interviewed more than 75 abuse survivors, board members and others to uncover a tainted process where the church hierarchy holds the reins of power at every stage. (Associated Press)

Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards.

“These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry.

“But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.

“The AP also found dozens of cases in which review boards rejected complaints from survivors, only to have them later validated by secular authorities. In a few instances, board members were themselves clergy accused of sexual misconduct. And many abuse survivors told the AP they faced hostility and humiliation from boards.”

By Reese Dunklin, Mitch Weiss and Matt Sedensky, Associated Press — Read more …

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Study shows 65% of U.S. Dioceses post audited financial reports online, but 27% post no financial information

Voice of the Faithful has completed its third annual study of U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency. Among the study’s findings are that:

  • 65% of U.S. dioceses have exhibited a commitment to financial transparency by sharing audited financial reports on their websites;
  • The percentage of U.S. dioceses posting audited financial reports has increased from 56% in 2017 to 61% in 2018 to 65% in 2019;
  • 8% of the dioceses provided only unaudited reports in 2019, and the remaining 27% posted no financial information at all;
  • The average diocesan transparency score dropped slightly in 2019 due to tighter scoring criteria, but some dioceses achieved dramatic improvement; and
  • Other dioceses have stopped posting audited reports, causing their scores to drop sharply.

The study concluded that, although a majority of dioceses have made a commitment to financial transparency, a sizable minority share little or no verifiable financial information with their members. The average overall score achieved by all 177 dioceses comprising the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Voice of the Faithful’s 2019 report was 65.25%.

Five dioceses received perfect scores of 100%:

  • Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska;
  • Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina;
  • Diocese of Erie. Pennsylvania;
  • Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and
  • Diocese of Rochester, New York.

Click here for VOTF’s “Measuring and Ranking
Diocesan Online Financial Transparency: 2019” …

Click here for VOTF’s 2018 report …

Click here for VOTF’s 2017 report …

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