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New Surge In Priest Sex Raps

Mar 7, 2004 | New York Daily News

A controversial report that critics say severely undercounted the number of Catholic priests accused of sex abuse has spurred hundreds of unreported victims to break their silence, a victims group said.

In New York, 10 victims have come forward in the last week with fresh horror stories of rape, sodomy and fondling at the hands of clergymen, said David Cerulli, the city's director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"The phones are ringing off the hook," said Cerulli, 54, who said he was abused by a priest in the 1960s. "The good news is people are reporting. The bad news is there's so many more."

Victims said they were prompted to call by what they perceived as a gross undercount in a statistical analysis of the pedophile priest scandal released Feb. 27. The report relied on information from diocesan bishops.

The study, done by John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said 4,392 priests, or 4% overall, were accused of molesting nearly 11,000 people since 1950.

The Diocese of Brooklyn said 87 of their 13,929 priests significantly less than 1% were accused of inappropriate behavior. The Archdiocese of New York reported that 49 clergymen, or 1.19% of the total, were similarly accused.

Since the report was publicized, the Diocese of Brooklyn has received two new reports of abuse and forwarded them to the district attorney's office, spokesman Frank DeRosa said. The Archdiocese of New York did not receive any new allegations.

Across the country, more than 200 victims have contacted SNAP support groups in more than 50 cities.

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