[JURIST] Over 780 new allegations of clergy sex abuse [JURIST news archive] were reported to the US Catholic Church in 2005, though a majority of the claims relate to incidents which occurred in past decades, according to a new audit released Thursday by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops [official website]. The report [PDF text; press release] is the third annual audit released by the church to monitor compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People [text], drafted in 2002 in response to widespread reports of sexual abuse committed by clergymen. In addition to the new abuse allegations, the report also notes that only 88.5 percent of dioceses were in full compliance with the charter, down from 95 percent in 2004. The 2005 report has come under some criticism as the review was not conducted according to the same methods as previous audits [JURIST report]. In 2003 and 2004, all 195 dioceses were visited on-site, but in 2005, 104 dioceses filled out questionnaires while the remainder were visited by auditors.
The church has received over 12,000 abuse claims since 1950, including the 783 new accusations raised in 2005. Catholic dioceses have spent over $1 billion since 1950 to deal with the problem, and almost $467 million in 2005 which includes a $22 million settlement [JURIST report] by the Hartford Archdiocese and a $56 million settlement [JURIST report] by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland in California. AP has more.