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Columbus Diocese: 26 clerics accused of abuse

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus has released statistics on priests accused of sexual abusing children.

As part of a national study on priests sexual abuse, the Columbus Diocese reports between 1950 and 2002 - 26 priests and deacons affiliated with the diocese were accused of sexual abuse. There were 39 victims because some of the priests or deacons were accused of abusing more than one person. The diocese says the figures include unsubstianted allegations, allegations which were later withdrawn,and allegations which were made after the priest or deacon had died.

The report says most of the accused are dead, or have left the ministry. However, the diocese does not provide any specifics as to how many cases were proved to be credible or how many priests may still be active.

In a statement , Bishop James Griffin says he realizes the numbers will dismay people and leave them feeling doubtful about the church's integrity . But Bishop Griffin says the study will help the church achieve its goal of preventing further abuse of children.