Report finds Portugal’s Catholic Church abused thousands of children over 70 years

At least 4,815 children were sexually abused by members of the Portuguese Catholic Church over the past 70 years, a report by the commission investigating the issue said on Monday, adding the findings are the tip of the iceberg. Child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht headed the commission and said they want “to pay a sincere tribute to those who were abuse victims during their childhood and dared to give a voice to silence” as “they are much more than a statistic.” Strecht said that since 1950, the 4,815 cases were the “absolute minimum” number of victims of sexual abuse by clergy members in Portugal. Most predators (77%) were priests and most of the victims were men that were abused in Catholic schools, churches, priests’ homes, and confessionals (among other locations). The majority of the sexual abuse occurred when the children were aged 10-14 with the youngest victim being two years old. After a report in France revealed around 3,000 priests and religious officials abused over 200,000 children, the Portuguese commission started its work in Jan. 2022.

 

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