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Church audit: Abuse allegations down, spending on training up in 2013

From April 2014: Archdiocese compliant with Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

WASHINGTON -- The number of allegations of sexual abuse by clergy declined in 2013 while diocesan spending on child protection programs increased under the U.S. Catholic Church's "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," according to a church-sponsored audit.
Dioceses and Eastern-rite eparchies reported 370 new allegations of abuse of a minor from 365 people against 290 priests or deacons, said the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which gathered data for the report.
The report includes information collected by StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, N.Y., which conducts annual audits of compliance with the charter by dioceses and eparchies under an arrangement with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
About 69 percent of the allegations reported last year occurred or began between 1960 and 1984. Three-quarters of the alleged offenders are already deceased or removed from active ministry. Eight of the alleged perpetrators were deacons while 282 were priests, the report said.
Meanwhile, the increase in spending on child protection programs by dioceses, eparchies and religious orders jumped to $41.7 million in 2013 from nearly $26.6 million in 2012.
While the report gave no reason for the 57 percent increase, Deacon Bernard Nojadera, director of the USCCB's Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection, in a statement cited that "the rechecks of background for a majority of diocesan personnel" was one reason contributing to the increase.
He said background checks also were extended to people working in broader roles within each diocese.
Almost all dioceses were found compliant with the audit. Two dioceses that auditors visited were found to be noncompliant with one or more articles of the charter. The Diocese of Pueblo, Colo., was cited because it could not provide evidence that showed all clergy had received safe environment training. The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago also was cited because a high percentage of children and volunteers had not completed safe environment training and a high percentage of priests and volunteers had not received background checks.
The annual report has two parts. The first is the compliance report of StoneBridge, which conducted on-site audits of 64 dioceses and eparchies and reviewed documentation submitted by 127 others. The Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., and three Eastern-rite dioceses, known as eparchies, refused to be audited.
Under canon law, dioceses and eparchies cannot be required to participate in the audit, but it is strongly recommended.
The eparchies not participating were the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter to Apostle of San Diego, Eparchy of Our Lady of Nereg in New York for Armenian Catholics and Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, Conn.
This is an extended version of the story that appeared in print.

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