From RTE News online
The paedophilia scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church in revent years has touched virtually every US diocese. More than 1,200 priests are reported to have sexually victimised more than 4,000 children, the New York Times reported today.
An extensive survey conducted by the newspaper tallied 4,268 people who have claimed publicly or in lawsuits to have been abused by priests.
Using court records, news reports, church documents and interviews, the Times survey found accusations of abuses in all but 16 of the 177 Roman Catholic dioceses in the US.
Most priests accused of abuse were ordained between the mid-1950s and the 1970s, a period of upheaval in the church.
According to the newspaper, most of the abuse cases occurred in the 1970s and 1980s.
Many Catholic conservatives blame the social upheaval of the 1960s for removing priestly inhibitions on sexuality and dissent.
The Times survey determined that 1.8% of all priests ordained from 1950 to 2001 had been accused of abuse, according to available data.
But in dioceses that have divulged what they say are complete lists of abusive priests the percentages are far higher.
In Baltimore, Maryland, for example, an estimated 6.2% of priests ordained in the last half-century have been implicated in the abuse of minors.
In Manchester, New Hampshire, the figure is 7.7% and in Boston it is 5.3%.