In six months, abuse allegations against over 2,600 priests and church workers have been revealed

By Alex Sundby

/ CBS News

Pope calls for action at sexual abuse summit

Reported by Matthew Sheridan, Elizabeth Gravier and Alexandra Myers.

In the past six months, authorities and Catholic Church dioceses across the U.S. have said that credible accusations of abuse have been made against more than 2,600 priests and other church employees over a span of several decades, according to a CBS News tally. The number includes sexual abuse accusations made against 301 priests over 70 years that a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed last summer.

Since then, individual dioceses and archdioceses across the country have been reviewing their files and releasing lists of people who they said face credible allegations of abuse. The issue has prompted Pope Francis to call church leaders from all over the world to the Vatican for a summit that started Thursday.

Between the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury investigation on Aug. 14, and Monday of this week, dioceses in two states have each named more than 300 people who have been accused of abuse. In New York, dioceses have named a total of 343 people, and Texas dioceses have named 304.

Dioceses in 31 other states and Washington, D.C., have come forward with what they said they've found in their files. The findings range from Mississippi, where the diocese of Biloxi said in January that credible allegations have been made against three priests since 1989, to California, where the diocese of Oakland on Monday released a list of 45 clergy members accused of abuse dating back to the 1960s.

Catholic bishops in the Netherlands covered up church sex abuse for decades, reports say

Not all of the people who have been named are still alive. For example, 14 of the priests on the Oakland diocese's list are dead.

In all, 96 dioceses have released lists of alleged abusers in the past six months. That's more than half of the 178 archdioceses and dioceses across the country, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Not all recently revealed allegations against priests have stemmed from the dioceses. In South Dakota, a priest from India serving in the diocese of Rapid City pleaded guilty earlier this month to having sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl.

Meanwhile, dioceses in 16 states — Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming — have released no new information in the past six months. Some dioceses have said they're working with law enforcement agencies, and others released information on allegations before last August.

Still other dioceses are continuing to review their files, raising the possibility that more allegations of abuse will surface in the future.

CBSN will stream special reporting on the sexual abuse summit at the Vatican starting Thursday at 11:15 a.m. ET.

Is your state investigating sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church? 9 photos


First published on February 21, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Alex Sundby

Alex Sundby is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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