Archdiocese Announces Child Protection Update and Statistics

November 07, 2003

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick updated over 250 priests from the Archdiocese of Washington on Archdiocesan child protection efforts during a meeting this week, and released statistics on clergy child abuse in the Archdiocese. The Priests’ Convocation was the first time the priests have met as a group since the Archdiocese released its updated Child Protection Policy on March 19, 2003.

Since March, the Archdiocese has hired a director of child protection services, Ms. Marcia Zvara; implemented a mandatory training program for all employees and volunteers who have substantial contact with children; and increased awareness and implementation of criminal background checks for volunteers and employees who work with children. More than 3,000 people have participated in child protection workshops since August, with training continuing throughout the winter.

In addition to these local initiatives, the Archdiocese of Washington participated in two national efforts that the Catholic bishops of the United States called for as part of the National Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in June 2002. The first was an audit of diocesan compliance with the Charter. While the results are confidential until their national release in January 2004, the auditors did commend the Archdiocese of Washington for its child protection efforts.

Also this summer, the Archdiocese completed an extensive survey commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board to understand the nature and scope of child abuse by clergy over the past 50 years. The national data is expected to be released in February 2004.

A review of records since the Archdiocese separated from Baltimore in 1947 found 27 of 1,056 Archdiocesan and extern priests, or 2.5 percent, were accused of sexual misconduct by 119 minors over a 56-year period. At least one priest was exonerated. None of the priests are in ministry. Approximately 85 percent of the allegations reportedly occurred before 1980, yet half of the allegations were received by the Archdiocese only after 1994.

The Archdiocese offers counseling whenever a credible allegation is made. Since 1947, $3.2 million has gone to counseling and other victim assistance, $501,000 to priest evaluation and care and $650,500 to legal fees, for a total of $4.3 million. The funds came from insurance or insurance-deductible reserves. No funds came from individual contributions, parish funds or the annual Cardinal’s Appeal. No ministries or parish services have been affected. The Child Protection Policy is available at

Susan Gibbs
Office of Communications
[email protected]