1,700 Catholic priests accused of child sexual abuse are reportedly living freely in the US with no oversight, working in schools, and failing to register as sex offenders

Bill Bostock
  • Almost 1,700 Catholic priests and staff accused of child abuse live freely in the US, with negligible law enforcement or church supervision, according to an Associated Press (AP) investigation.

  • The discovery was made as part of the agency's damning investigation into 2,000 living church officials "credibly" accused of abusing children.

  • Since they were accused 65 have been charged with a variety of crimes, 76 have licenses to work in schools or medical establishments, and only 85 charged with sex crimes are registered sex offenders, the AP found.

  • More than 130 dioceses in the US have publicly named priests, deacons, monks, and worshippers accused of historic child abuse since August 2018.

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Almost 1,700 Catholic priests and other clergymen accused of child sex crimes live freely in the US, with no oversight from law enforcement or the church, a new Associated Press investigation has found.

The discovery was part of a broader investigation into the whereabouts of 5,100 priests, deacons, monks, and lay people in Roman Catholic Churches in the US accused of child sexual abuse dating back decades.

Two thousand of them are still living as of October 1.

Of these 2,000 men, the AP's Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer found that:

  • 65 have been charged with a variety of crimes since they left the church.

  • Of those charges, 50% relate to "sexual assault, child pornography or failing to register as a sex offender."

  • 76 are licensed to work in schools, as councilors, or in medical establishments.

  • Of the 310 previously charged with child sex crimes, only 85 are now on state sex offender registers.

  • More than 400 live within 610 meters (2,000 feet) of a "school, playground, or child care facility."

  • 64 have been jailed and 13 are facing criminal charges since leaving the church.

The report also found that those accused are living " largely unsupervised" by law enforcement authorities or the Roman Catholic church in the US.

The AP singled out Roger Sinclair, one of the 65 clergymen charged with crime after he was accused of historic sexual abuse. Sinclair was expelled from the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 2002 after he was accused of abusing a teenage boy decades earlier, the AP said.

He later moved to Oregon where, in 2017, he was arrested for molesting​ ​a young disabled man.

catholic church sex scandal
catholic church sex scandal

Scott Olson

Since August 2018, more than 130 Catholic dioceses in the US have released the names of those "credibly" accused of child sex offenses, a reaction to the outing of the longstanding cover-up of endemic sexual abuse of children.

The flurry was sparked by a seismic grand jury investigation into the Catholic church in Pennsylvania in August 2018, which identified nearly 300 "predator priests" and "1,000 young victims" over 70 years.

Read more: Australia's most senior Catholic cleric has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for sexually abusing two choirboys

Pope Francis said in 2017 the Catholic Church was "a bit late" to realize the damage done by predatory priests accused of raping and molesting children over the decades.

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