About 1,700 priests and clergy members considered by the Catholic Church to be facing credible accusations of sexual abuse are reportedly living with little to no supervision in the U.S.
The Associated Press reported Friday that an analysis of more than 5,000 clergy members, living and deceased, who were considered credibly accused of sexual abuse by various Catholic dioceses revealed nearly 1,700 still living in the U.S. today.
Many of the roughly 5,100 accused priests and clergy members whose names have been released by Catholic dioceses went on to commit other crimes, including sexual crimes against children, after their initial accusations were known to the church, according to the AP.
The AP's investigation found that about 1,700 were living largely unsupervised in the U.S., while almost 80 accused clergy members were completely unaccounted for. Some of those who were accounted for were allowed to work in positions that put them around children, including as teachers, according to the investigation.
One New Jersey sixth grade teacher was removed last year after parent outcry, according to the report, after residents discovered that the teacher had been forced from the priesthood but otherwise unpunished for impregnating a teen parishioner, the AP reported.
The Catholic Church has faced international pressure to reveal the names of priests accused of sexual abuse for years, calls which intensified last year with the publication of a grand jury report in Pennsylvania that revealed more than 300 Catholic Church officials who allegedly committed criminal acts of sexual abuse that were later covered up by the church.
“Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability. Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades,” the report read.