Cincinnati Archdiocese Says Clergy Abuse Cost $11 Million

January 22, 2009

A clergy abuse scandal has cost the Archdiocese of Cincinnati more than $11 million in the past six years, church officials announced.

In 2008, the archdiocese spent nearly $1.2 million on costs related to clergy abuse, or less than 2 percent of its total expenses. Half of that was used for training, fingerprinting and other child protection programs.

Another $589,000 covered legal fees, victim counseling and housing and salaries for suspended priests. Weekly parish collections are not used to fund those costs, church officials said.

The data is part of an annual reporting program put in place after the scandal broke.

The report also noted two new allegations of sexual abuse filed against one priest whose name was not released. That priest previously faced allegations and is one of at least 10 priests removed from ministry, according to the archdiocese.

Since 2003, the archdiocese has received 159 allegations of misconduct.

Some parishioners want more transparency about those allegations and the spending related to the scandal.

The reporting program helps spread some of that information to parishioners, archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said.

It set up a $3 million compensation fund as part of a 2003 plea agreement to end a prosecutor’s investigation of whether clergy abuse of children wasn’t reported to authorities. The archdiocese pleaded no contest to failing to report crimes and was fined $10,000.

The archdiocese includes 220 parishes and nearly 500,000 Catholics in southwest Ohio, making it the 26th largest Catholic diocese in the U.S.

Victims’ advocates say they’re not sure whether a steady decline in allegations of misconduct within the archdiocese can be attributed to its child protection programs, which include background checks and fingerprints for volunteers working with children.

They also have criticized Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, who has led the archdiocese since 1982, for responding too slowly to the scandal.

Pilarczyk is expected to retire this year at age 75, in accordance with church rules.

His successor, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, has praised the church’s efforts to prevent and detect abuse.

“The sexual abuse situation in the church is a tragedy and is a deep wound, and deep wounds take a long time to heal,” Schnurr told reporters when he was introduced in Cincinnati in October.


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