100s of accused priests living under radar with no oversight

An Associated Press investigation has found that nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse through the Roman Catholic church are quietly living with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses.

These clergy members now teach middle-school math, counsel survivors of sexual assault and live next to playgrounds and day care centers. The AP’s analysis also found that dozens have committed crimes since leaving the church, including sexual assault.

Victims’ advocates have pushed for more oversight of these clergy members, but church officials say they cannot legally do what’s being requested. And civil authorities like police departments say their purview is limited to people convicted of crimes.


Associated Press writers Sharon Cohen, Gillian Flaccus, Adam Geller, Justin Pritchard, John Seewer and Anita Snow contributed to this report, along with AP news researchers Jennifer Farrar, Randy Herschaft, Monika Mathur and Rhonda Shafner.

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