The US Conference of Catholic Bishops released a report this week supposedly showing the number of sexual abuse allegations made against American priests last year. How the data in the report should be interpreted depends on your point of view.
The report indicated that there were 594 new credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest during 2011. That’s more than a 15 percent increase over the previous year.
However, the Conference of Catholic Bishops is quick to point out that “only” 23 of the new allegations involved children who were under the age of 18 in 2010 or 2011. In other words, the Bishops are trying to suggest that the problem of sexual abuse by priests is an historical one and that there are few current cases of sexual abuse by priests.