An analysis of Catholic Church records of child sex abuse from 1950 – 2010 has been released showing that a shocking 7 per cent of priests are accused child sex abusers. In some religious orders, such as the Marist Brothers and Christian Brothers, that figure rises to more than 20 percent.
The data was released to coincide with the 15th and final public hearing on the church of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which began in Sydney on Monday. This is significant because it is the first time in the world that church records on abuse have been available to the public.
— Newser (@Newser) February 6, 2017
The incidents surveyed involved 4,444 alleged incidents of abuse, with 60 percent of the victims reporting that the abuse occurred at faith-based institutions. According to counsel for the Royal Commission, the accounts of the victims were “depressingly similar”, documents were not kept, or were destroyed, and secrecy and cover-ups prevailed.
What was the average age of the victims at the time of the abuse? For boys it was 11; for girls it was 10. The Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan says the data reveals horrific abuse at the hands of priests.
Why was the abuse allowed to continue for decades? Plans must be formulated to deal with offenders and put measures in place to ensure the safety of all children moving forward. Looking ahead, leaders of Australian religious orders and six of seven Australian Catholic archbishops have been told to appear before this royal commission on child abuse.
These leaders definitely have some explainin’ to do. And probably some hefty legal settlements to cover as well.