Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Studies Estimate Costs To U.S. Catholic Church of Sex Scandals Are In the Billions of Dollars

The National Catholic Reporter yesterday published the results of its extensive research into the cost of the sex-abuse crisis to the Catholic Church in the United States.  In the most extensive review yet from numerous sources, the publication concluded that since 1950 the Church has paid out at least $3.99 billion in judgments and settlements, and in expenses for therapy for victims, support for offenders, attorneys' fees, child protection efforts and related costs.  And it is known that this total is low because data is not available as to certain related expenditures.

Meanwhile another study published in the Journal of Public Economics and also reported on yesterday by the National Catholic Reporter concludes that the more than 3000 scandals in Catholic dioceses around the U.S. between 1980 and 2010 has led to a decline in charitable giving to the Church and other charities of billions of dollars.  As summarized by NCR:
"The estimates suggest that each scandal caused a decline of 1.3% in the total itemized charitable giving in the affected zip code per year," Harvard-trained economist Perez-Truglia explained in an email. "Multiplying that 1.3% by the total itemized giving in the zip codes affected by the 3,000+ scandals results in a decline in itemized contributions of about $1.77 billion per year.
"But that number does not include the effect on non-itemized contributions," which account for 25 percent of all giving, according to Perez-Truglia, who is a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research. "Assuming that the effect for non-itemizers is similar to the effect found for itemizers, the total cost in charitable contributions would be $2.36 billion per year."