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More than 1000 clergy sex abuse allegations last year

The US Catholic Church last year received 1092 new allegations of sexual abuse against 756 priests and deacons, according to data released by the US Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection.

Zenit reports that the Office made public the second audit of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, implemented in the wake of the sex-abuse crisis that surfaced in 2002 and rocked the Church around the world.

The report, conducted by the independent Gavin Group, measured how well dioceses are integrating the charter's standards into their diocesan administration.

Bishop William Skylstad, president of the Bishops' Conference, said that the prelates are committed to being "publicly accountable for fulfilling the actions outlined in the charter to help heal those wounded as young people by sexual abuse by clergy and to prevent such abuse in the future."

"There is undoubtedly progress still to be made, and we can still understand this problem more fully as well as we find more and even better means to confront it," he said.

Kathleen McChesney, head of the US bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, told reporters that "the crisis of sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church is not over."

"What is over is the denial that this problem exists, and what is over is the reluctance of the Church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem," said McChesney.

The audit tallied the number of new complaints, the amount spent on them and the percentage of American dioceses that are complying with the 2002 charter.

Of the 194 dioceses audited last year, 74% were in already in compliance with the Church charter and most of the remaining 26% complied by the end of 2004. Among the cases the surfaced last year, nearly 72% of the accused clerics were either dead, defrocked or removed from public ministry before the newest allegations were received, the report said.

More Clerical Sex-Abuse Allegations Surfaced in '04 (Zenit 18/2/05)

US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child & Youth Protection: 2004 Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

Extra protection for John of God accused (CathNews 16/2/05)
Four abuse convictions for ex-priest Shanley (CathNews 9/2/05)
Catholics worried sex abuse costs curtail church work (CathNews 14/1/05)

More than 750 Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse in 2004 (Yahoo/AFP 19/2/05)
New audit finds near-total compliance with policies on sex abuse (Catholic News Service 18/2/05)
Clergy sex abuse crisis 'is not over,' child protection director says (Catholic News Service 18/2/05)
US abuse audit: 1,092 claims in 2004; $840 million paid (Catholic World News 18/2/05)
Bishops: Abuse Claims Mostly Old Cases (The Guardian/Associated Press 19/2/05)
Church audit shows over 1000 new abuse claims (Reuters/Sydney Morning Herald 19/2/05)
$200m for priests' abuse (The Age/Reuters 20/2/05)
Parishioners want accused priest back ( 17/2/05)
Bail hearing for Catholic clerics adjourned (ABC News 17/2/05)
Priest Convicted of Molesting Altar Boy (The Guardian/Associated Press 17/2/05)
Immigrant 'abused by Catholic priests' (The Advertiser 17/2/05)

22 Feb 2005