Church in Spain collects almost 1,000 complaints of sexual abuse since 1945

crucifix Credit: Emiliano Arruabarrena/Cathopic

The Catholic Church in Spain on June 1 presented the report “To shed light,” which tallies 927 complaints of alleged sexual abuse of minors under 18 years of age or vulnerable people that occurred from 1945 to 2022.

The report does not include situations involving the abuse of conscience and power or committed against adults.

The report was “prepared from the testimonies that have been collected in the offices [of the protection of minors and abuse prevention], without assuming or proving innocence or guilt.”

The Spanish Bishops’ Conference (CEE) also acknowledged that in the account it presented “it’s possible that there are some duplications of testimonies.”

The complaints indicate 728 alleged perpetrators including 170 diocesan priests and 208 ordained religious, 234 non-ordained men and women religious, one deacon, 92 laypeople, and 23 people whose state is unknown.

Most abuse was of homosexual nature

According to the data provided by the CEE, the majority of those accused are men (99.4%) and in more than eight out of 10 cases the abuse was of a homosexual nature.

In most cases it is unknown if the perpetrator is alive or dead, but of those cases where it was indicated, 63% are dead.

The report indicates that 80% of the cases occurred before 1990 and that seven out of 10 took place in the 20th century.

The 1970s was the decade with the most cases of abuse.

Nearly half of the reported abuses (46.96%) took place in a school setting and slightly more than 15% in a parish environment, with another 14.57% in “seminaries, boarding schools, or choirs.”

The Spanish Bishops’ Conference noted that the Church in Spain has 202 open offices prepared to receive complaints of this type, of which 53 are diocesan, four interdiocesan, and three reception centers.

In addition, 121 religious congregations have launched 142 such offices.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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