WASHINGTON (February 16, 2004) -- Belleville Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement on news stories about data said to be from the John Jay Study on the nature and scope of the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy, commissioned by the National Review Board at the USCCB's request:
"On February 27, 2004 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expects to receive two reports. One is a descriptive study on the nature and scope of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and the other is a report from the National Review Board to focus the issues for additional study.
"These reports will be a very sobering and important milestone. I have not seen the reports, and so I cannot comment on their substance. But I want to reaffirm that the bishops requested these studies so that we could understand as fully as possible what caused this terrible occurrence in the life of our community to make sure that it never happens again.
"My heart goes out to all who have suffered, and I assure them especially that the bishops are committed to fully implementing the Dallas Charter and will continue to work with the Office of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board to reach out to victims and prevent such abuse from occurring in the future.
"The USCCB is prepared to respond to the reports when they are finalized and released on February 27 by the National Review Board."