Roman Catholic sex abuse cases by country
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (July 2012)|
This page documents Roman Catholic sex abuse cases by country. The Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Europe has affected several dioceses in European nations, although dioceses in the United States of America affected the Church even more seriously there, certainly several American dioceses were bankrupted by lawsuits from victims. A significant number of cases have also been reported in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia. The only unaffected continent is Antarctica.
In 2001, lawsuits were filed in the United States and Ireland, alleging that some priests had sexually abused minors and that their superiors had conspired to conceal and otherwise abet their criminal misconduct. In 2004, the John Jay report tabulated a total of 4,392 priests and deacons in the U.S. against whom allegations of sexual abuse had been made. The numbers of abuse allegations and court cases has increased worldwide since then.
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has asked for detailed information on the full extent of child abuse worldwide by priests, monks and nuns and has asked how the Vatican prevents abusers contacting further children and how the Vatican ensures that known crimes against children are reported to the police. In the past there were issues over the Church Hierarchy failing to report abuse and allowing abusers further contact with children. November 1, 2013 was set as a deadline for receiving the information.
- 1 Prevalence
- 2 Africa
- 3 Asia
- 4 Europe
- 5 North America
- 6 Oceania
- 7 South America
- 8 See also
- 9 References
In a statement read out by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi in September 2009, the Holy See stated "We know now that in the last 50 years somewhere between 1.5% and 5% of the Catholic clergy has been involved in sexual abuse cases", adding that this figure was comparable with that of other groups and denominations.
A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse by Catholic Dr. Thomas Plante of the Catholic Santa Clara University and volunteer clinical associate professor at Stanford University states that "approximately 4% of priests during the past half century (and mostly in the 1960s and 1970s) have had a sexual experience with a minor" which "is consistent with male clergy from other religious traditions and is significantly lower than the general adult male population which may double these numbers". Additionally, according to an article written by a journalist and published in Newsweek magazine, the figure in the Catholic Church is similar to that in the rest of the adult population. The article which reported the approximately 4% of clergy have abused was based upon a study done by John Jay College. It was compiled solely from numbers provided by leaders of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which paid John Jay College to do the study.
By contrast Barbara Blaine, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), stated, "We are confident that the ICC will see sufficient evidence that high ranking Catholic officials are still knowingly enabling predators to harm and endanger children across the world, while concealing these heinous crimes even more effectively.”" The ICC referred to the International Criminal Court. SNAP representatives note there are more Catholics in the Third World where child molestation is more easily concealed and feel a need to guard against “the tempting assumption that the worst of this scandal is somehow behind us.” 
In 2009 several people came forward with accusations of sexual molestation against an Italian priest working in the country. The Church gave assurances of an investigation, but this has not taken place. However Kenyan police say they found no evidence and believe Sesana is innocent.
In 2010 a young woman alleged that a Catholic priest had undertaken inappropriate sexual activity against her will, but the police and Church authorities had failed to follow up the allegations.
The 2011 Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) documentary "A Mission To Prey" brought to notice Kenya's clerical abuse cases, which should have been handled with more transparency. It has subsequently emerged that this program made false allegations against a priest, Fr. Kevin Reynolds, which resulted in the priest being removed from his home and his parish ministry. RTÉ has subsequently apologised for this programme and has stated that Fr. Reynolds was innocent of the charges stated. RTÉ has nevertheless left access to this programme even though upwards of 32 Slander & Libel cases are pending.
In 2011 a Dutch bishop was reported to be under probe over alleged sex abuse, The Bishop was alleged to have abused a minor when he served as a priest in Ngong diocese some 18 years prior to the report.
St Michael's Catholic Boarding School, Soni, Tanzania
A prominent United Kingdom member of the order, Fr Kit Cunningham together with three other priests were exposed after Cunningham's death as paedophiles While at Soni, Cunningham perpetrated sexual abuse that made the school, according to one pupil, "a loveless, violent and sad hellhole". Other pupils recall being photographed naked, hauled out of bed at night to have their genitals fondled and other sexual abuse. Although known about by the Rosminians before Cunningham's death in 2010, the abuse was only publicly revealed by the media in 2011 Formal action was launched by a group of former pupils at the civil court in Leicester, UK on 20 March 2013.
- In 2002 the Catholic Church apologized for sexual abuses, including adultery, homosexuality and child abuse by two hundred priests over the previous 20 years.
- In 2003 at least 34 priests were suspended in a sex abuse scandal involving sexual harassment of women. 20 were from a single diocese.
- In 2011, a priest accused of sexually abusing a 17-year old female minor is sheltered by his Bishop, despite calls for his surrender to civil authorities.
- Archdiocese of Vienna
There have been several abuse cases in Belgium.
- Diocese of Antwerp
Former parish priest Bruno Vos of Nieuwmoer parish in Kalmthout was officially charged with rape of a minor by the Belgian judiciary. There are also allegations of possession of child pornography included in the charge.
- Archdiocese of Zagreb
- Ivan Čuček convicted  in 2000 for sexual abuse of 37 young girls, sentenced to three years in prison, which was later reduced by Supreme Courtto  to one and a half years.
- Archdiocese of Rijeka
- Drago Ljubičić convicted in 2007 was Catholic priest on the isle of Rab sentenced to three years in prison for molesting five teenage boys. He will be the first Catholic priest to serve prison time for sexual abuse in Croatia. When asked by Catholic press agency Glas Koncila (prior to scandal) why children avoid going to church he blamed 'strong influence of communism on island Rab'.
- Seine et Marne
- Henri Lebras sentenced to ten years for the rape of a twelve-year-old boy between 1995 and 1998.
In February 2010 Der Spiegel reported that more than 94 clerics and laymen have been suspected of sexual abuse since 1995, but only 30 of those suspects had actually been prosecuted because of legal time constraints on pursuing cases.
- Archdiocese of Dublin
- Diocese of Ferns
The Ferns Inquiry 2005 - On 22 October 2005 a government-commissioned report compiled by a former Irish Supreme Court judge delivered an indictment of the handling of clerical sex abuse in the Irish diocese of Ferns.
- It is difficult to ascertain the actual statistics for clerical sexual abuse in Italy because the Italian Government has a treaty with the Vatican that guarantees areas of immunity to Vatican officials, including bishops and priests.
- Three former students have claimed abuse and 65 former students signed statements saying that they or other students were abused by Catholic priests when attending the Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, a Catholic school for deaf children in Verona, Italy. The abuse is alleged to have occurred from the 1950s to 1980s, and was reportedly conducted by 24 priests including the late bishop of Verona.
- 84 allegations had been made as of April 2010 and Lawrence Grech, one of many alleged victims complains that he was abused in an orphanage. Mr Grech complained in 2010 that the Church had been investigating cases for seven years without doing enough that is effective. The pope spoke to Mr Grech and approved his courage in coming forward. A Maltese court found that Fr Charles Pulis and Fr Godwin Scerri sexually abused children and sentenced the two men to six years and five years in prison respectively. The church regretted delays before there were proper investigations into the abuse and promised to defrock Fr Pulis.
- Fr. Anthony Mercieca, who was accused by former Florida Congressman Mark Foley of molesting him as a teenager and has admitted "inappropriate encounters", now lives in Malta.
Cases of sexual abuse by religious members of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands can since 1995 be notified to a central church institution, called Secretariaat Rooms-Katholiek Kerkgenootschap (SRRK).
In 1993, Father H.H.M. Jansen is denounced for sexual abuse during his activities as military pastor and as a faculty member of the seminary of Rolduc.
On 14 May 1998 damages of €56.800 were paid by the diocese of Rotterdam to the victim of sexual abuse by a diocesan priest in order to avoid civil prosecution.
In 2011 the Deetman Commission, acting on the 2010 request of the Conference of Bishops and the Dutch Religious Conference, reported on its inquiry into abuse cases from 1945 to 2010 affecting children entrusted to the care of the church in the Netherlands.
Georg Müller, a former Catholic Bishop in Trondheim, Norway, has admitted to sexually abusing an altar boy in the 1980s when he served as a priest there. Müller, who retired as bishop in 2009, said there were no other victims.
In 2013 a succession of child sex abuse scandals within the church, and the poor response by the church, became a matter of widespread public concern. The church resisted demands to pay compensation to victims.
- Archdiocese of Poznań
- Diocese of Płock
In early 2007 allegations surfaced that former Bishop Stanislaw Wielgus (later very briefly Archbishop of Warsaw) was aware that several priests in his former diocese of Płock were sexually abusing minors.
- Archdiocese of Ljubljana
- Franc Frantar - detained in 2006 for sexual abuse of up to 16 minors. He was later sentenced to five years in prison. He initially escaped prosecution by escaping to Malawi to work there as a missionary, but returned to Slovenia after Interpol warrant was issued.
- Diocese of Stockholm
One child was sexually abused by a priest several years in the late 1950s. When the child raised the issue at the time, the priest was protected and the abuse was kept quiet by the church. The victim finally reported the abuse to the Stockholm diocese in December 2005. The victim demanded a public apology from the church. In June 2007 Sweden's Catholic church made a public apology in two newspapers.
There have been a considerable number of sex abuse cases in the United Kingdom including:
On the 15 November 2013 Canon Stephen Shield of Lancaster Cathedral was found guilty of three counts of Indecent Assault and sentenced to four months for the first count and twelve months each for counts two and three to be served concurrently over a twelve-month prison sentence. He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.
- Benedictine Order
- Buckfast Abbey School
- Ealing Abbey / St Benedict's School
- Belmont Abbey / Belmont Abbey School
- Archdiocese of St. John's
Fr. Marcial Maciel (1920–2008) founded the Legion of Christ, a Catholic order of priests originating in Mexico. Nine former seminarians of his order accused Maciel of molestation. Maciel maintained his innocence of the accusations.
- Archdiocese of Anchorage
In 2007, the Society of Jesus made a $50 million payout to over 100 Inuit who alleged that they had been sexually abused. The settlement did not require them to admit molesting Inuit children, but accusations involved 13 or 14 priests who allegedly molested these children for 30 years. In 2008, the Diocese of Fairbanks, a co-defendant in the case, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming inability to pay the 140 plaintiffs filing claims against the diocese for alleged sexual abuse by priests or church workers during this period.
- Archdiocese of Boston
Allegations of sexual misconduct by priests of the Archdiocese of Boston, and following revelations of a cover-up by the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, became known in 2004, causing Roman Catholics in other dioceses of the United States to investigate similar situations. Cardinal Law's actions prompted public scrutiny of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the steps taken in response to past and current allegations of sexual misconduct by priests. The events in the Archdiocese of Boston became a national scandal.
- Archdiocese of Chicago
Daniel McCormack, a self-confessed sexually abusive priest was sentenced to five years in prison for abusing five boys (8–12 years) in 2001.
- Diocese of Crookston
Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul was charged with molesting two teenage girls at a Catholic church in Greenbush, Minnesota, a small rural town near the Canadian border. The abuse occurred in 2004, and charges were filed in 2006 and amended in 2007. Without facing legal punishment, Jevapaul returned to his home diocese in Ootacamund, India, where today he works in the church’s diocesan office. A Roseau County, Minnesota attorney is seeking to extradite the priest from India in a criminal case involving one of the girls. The Archbishop of Madras, India (Madras is now called “Chennai”) has asked Jeyapaul to return to the US to face the charges. Jevapaul has said that he will not fight extradition if the US seeks it.
- Diocese of Davenport
- Archdiocese of Denver
- Archdiocese of Dubuque
In 2006 the Archdiocese settled a number of claims of sexual abuse, and the Archbishop offered a personal apology.
- Diocese of Fall River
Father James Porter was a Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of molesting 28 children; He admitted sexually abusing at least 100 of both sexes over a period of 30 years, starting in the 1960s. Bishop Sean O'Malley settled 101 abuse claims and initiated a zero-tolerance policy against sexual abuse. He also instituted one of the first comprehensive sexual abuse policies in the Roman Catholic Church.
- Diocese of Honolulu
Reverend Joseph Bukoski, III, SS.CC., Honolulu, Hawaii, a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary was canonically removed in 2003 as the pastor of Maria Lanakila Catholic Church in Lahaina by Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo for allegations relating to sexual improprieties some 30 years earlier. Fr. Bukoski issued a written public apology to his victim on November 12, 2005.
Reverend Mr. James "Ron" Gonsalves, Wailuku, Hawaii, Gonsalves the administrator of Saint Ann Roman Catholic Church in Waihee, Maui, pleaded guilty on May 17, 2006 to several counts of sexual assault on a 12-year-old male. Bishop Clarence Richard Silva has permanently withdrawn his faculties and has initiated laicization proceedings against Deacon Gonsalves with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
- Archdiocese of Los Angeles
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay out 60 million dollars to settle 45 lawsuits it still faces over 450 other pending cases. According to the Associated Press, 22 priests were involved in the settlement with cases going back as far as the 1930s. 20 million dollars of this was paid by the insurers of the archdiocese. The main administrative office of the archdiocese is due to be sold to cover the cost of these and future lawsuits. The archdiocese will settle about 500 cases for about $600 million.
- Diocese of Memphis
The Diocese of Memphis reached a $2 million settlement with a man who was abused as a boy by Father Juan Carlos Duran, a priest with a history of sexual misconduct with juveniles in St. Louis, Panama, and Bolivia.
- Archdiocese of Miami
Since 1966, the Archdiocese of Miami Insurance Programs have paid $26.1 million in settlement, legal, and counseling costs associated with sexual misconduct allegations made by minors involving priests, laity and religious brothers and sisters.
- Archdiocese of Milwaukee
A 2003 report on the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee revealed that allegations of sexually assaulting minors had been made against 58 ordained men. By early 2009, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee had spent approximately $26.5 million in attorney fees and settlements. Under Archbishop Timothy Dolan the archdiocese was able to avoid bankruptcy from lawsuits.
A Wisconsin priest, the Rev. Lawrence C Murphy, who taught at the former St. John School for the Deaf in the Milwaukee suburb of St. Francis, Wisconsin from 1950 to 1974, allegedly molested more than 200 deaf boys. Several U.S. bishops warned the Vatican that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church. Murphy was moved by then Milwaukee Archbishop William E Cousins to Superior, Wisconsin, a small city near Lake Superior, where he spent his final 24 years working with children in parishes, schools and a juvenile detention center. He died in 1998. As of March 2010, there were four outstanding lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the case.
- Diocese of Oakland
In 1981, the former Rev. Stephen Kiesle was convicted for tying up and molesting two boys in a California church rectory. From 1981 to 1985, Bishop John Stephen Cummins, who oversaw Kiesle, contacted the Vatican about defrocking him. Then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, responded by letter that the case needed more time, as it was "necessary to consider the good of the Universal Church" and "the detriment that granting the dispensation" could provoke among the faithful. In 1987, the Vatican defrocked Kiesle. The letter was widely regarded as evidence of Ratzinger's role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests. Vatican officials responded that that interpretation rested on a misreading of the letter, in which the issue was not whether Kiesle should be defrocked but whether he should be granted the dispensation he had requested from the obligation of chastity. By refusing to grant such a dispensation right away in the Kiesle case, Ratzinger was actually being tough with an abuser, not lax.
- Archdiocese of Omaha
During his tenure as the Bishop of Helena, Montana, Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss chose to reassign a priest who had been accused of pedophilia in 1959, later admitting that he had not properly examined the church's personnel file on the individual concerned. Curtiss faced similar criticism in 2001 in regard to a priest accused of accessing child pornography. Curtiss, it was alleged, had failed to bring the case to the attention of the authorities, and had chosen to send the priest for counseling and to reassign the priest, removing him from his high-school teaching position but reassigning him to a middle-school.
- Diocese of Orange, California
- Diocese of Palm Beach
- Diocese of Peoria
Coadjutor Bishop John J. Myers of Peoria was among the two-thirds of sitting bishops and acting diocese administrators that the Dallas Morning News found had allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to continue working.
In 2005, Rev. Francis Engels pleaded guilty to molesting a Peoria altar boy on trips to Milwaukee in the early 1980s.
- Archdiocese of Philadelphia
According to a 2005 investigation, while serving as assistant vicar for administration in 1996, Bishop Cistone was involved with silencing a nun who tried to alert parishioners at St. Gabriel parish about abuse by a priest. According to the report, there were several other instances of priest sexual abuse that Cistone was complicit in covering up. In February 2011, Monsignor William Lynn, former secretary of the clergy for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, was charged with child endangerment, marking the first time that a high-ranking official has been charged since the eruption of sex abuse scandals nearly ten years prior. Lynn was found by a grand jury to have placed pedophiles in posts involving contact with children, which led directly to the sexual assault of two boys. Three priests and one teacher face rape charges.
- Diocese of Phoenix
On November 21, 2005, Monsignor Dale Fushek of the Diocese of Phoenix was arrested and charged with 10 criminal misdemeanor counts related to alleged inappropriate sexual contact with teens and young adults.
- Archdiocese of Portland
The Archdiocese of Portland filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on July 6, 2004, hours before two abuse trials were set to begin. Portland became the first Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy. An open letter to the archdiocese's parishioners explained the archbishop's motivation.
- Archdiocese of San Antonio
- Diocese of San Diego
- Diocese of Savannah
In October, 2009, the diocese of Savannah paid $4.24 million to settle a lawsuit which alleged that Lessard allowed a priest named Wayland Brown to work in the diocese when Lessard knew that Brown was a serial child molester who posed a danger to children.
- Diocese of Spokane
Under Bishop William S. Skylstad the Diocese of Spokane declared bankruptcy in December 2004. As part of its bankruptcy, the diocese has agreed to pay at least $48 million as compensation. This payout has to be agreed to by the victims and a judge before it will be made. According to federal bankruptcy judge, Gregg W. Zive, money for the settlement would come from insurance companies, the sale of church property, contributions from Catholic groups and from the diocese's parishes.
- Diocese of Stockton
Fr. Oliver O'Grady molested multiple children in Stockton. The 2006 documentary Deliver Us from Evil is based on accusations that Bishop Roger Mahony knew that Oliver O'Grady was an active pedophile.
- Diocese of Tucson
The Diocese of Tucson filed for bankruptcy in September, 2004. It reached an agreement with plaintiffs, which the bankruptcy judge approved on June 11, 2005, specifying terms that included allowing the diocese reorganization to continue in return for a $22.2 million settlement.
- Archdiocese of Sydney
- Ross Murrin: Catholic brother pleaded guilty to sexually abusing eight male students.
- Archdiocese of Melbourne
There were several cases of sexual abuse in the Melbourne Archdiocese.
- Michael Charles Glennon: former diocesan priest, sentenced to at least 15 years in jail for sexually abusing four Aboriginal boys between 1984 and 1991.
- Wilfred James Baker: sentenced to four years in prison (parole after 2 years) for crimes involving eight boys.
- David Daniel: sentenced to six years jail, with parole after 4.5 years, for molesting four boys, a girl and an adult male.
- Paul Pavlou: convicted on 29 June 2009 of committing an indecent act with a child under 16 and of being knowingly in possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to an 18-month jail sentence suspended for 24 months and to a two-year community based order. He was registered on the Sex Offenders Register for 15 years. These offences occurred in 2005-2006 while he was the priest at Healesville in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
- Francis Klep SDB: convicted of indecent assault in 1994, and charged with an additional five counts. He moved to Samoa, but in 2004 the Samoan government made moves to deport him from the country after becoming aware of the previous conviction and charges.
The abuse scandal at the Marylands School is an important chapter in the clerical abuse affairs in New Zealand but other cases have also emerged.
- Julio Grassi was found guilty (by a three-judge panel of the Criminal Court Oral 1 Morón) of one count of sexual abuse and one count of corrupting a minor in the “Happy Children’s Foundation”.
- Archdiocese of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz
Allegations of sexual abuse by Archbishop Edgardo Storni on 47 young seminarists surfaced in 1994, and were published in 2000. This led to a victim from a 1992 incident coming forward, followed by a conviction for eight years in Dec. 2009.
- Diocese of Anápolis
- Fr. Tarcísio Tadeu Spricigo was arrested after his checklist for choosing victims was found and given to police. He had molested children in at least five parishes. The case was one of those featured in an episode of the BBC's Panorama documentary series titled Sex Crimes and the Vatican and became an example of the Vatican's policies regarding pedophile priests. In November 2005 he was sentenced to a prison term of over 14 years.
- Fr. Felix Barbosa Carreiro was arrested and charged with child sexual abuse in the northeastern state of Maranhão after police seized him in a hotel room with four teenage boys.
- Archdiocese of Penedo
- In 2010 Authorities in Brazil began an investigation into three priests after a video allegedly showing a priest sexually abusing an altar boy was broadcast on the SBT television station.
- Archdiocese of Santiago
- José Andrés Aguirre Ovalle, aka "Cura Tato", was found guilty of nine sexual abuse charges by the highest court of this country. In 2004 Aguirre was sentenced to 12 years in jail. At the beginning of this trial, the Catholic Church was sentenced to pay 50 million in damages to the victims, but then this sentence was revoked by the supreme court.
- Ricardo Muñoz Quinteros, priest of Melipilla, was charged in 2010 with eight cases of sexually abusing minors, including his own daughter. Also, is investigated for producing pronografic material involving children.
- In 2010, the Catholic Church began an investigation into sexual abuse allegedly committed by Fr. Fernando Karadima, after four people came forward with allegations of abuse. He was found guilty and convicted by the Vatican in February 18, 2011. He was sentenced to a life of prayer and penitence, banned from any contact with his ex parishioners and forbidden to perform any priestly ministry in public or private except for mass by himself. He is currently living in a home for seniors where the Archbishop of Santiago put him under the care of some nuns. Karadima still does not acknowledge any wrongdoing after several testimonies helped convict him.
- Diocese of Valparaíso
- Eduardo Olivares Martínez, was found guilty of a five sexual abuse against underprivileged minors. In 2006 was sentenced to 3 years in jail and to pay 15 million pesos in damages.
- In 2010, Juan Henríquez Zapata was indicted for using minors for sex services.
- Diocese of Rancagua
- Jorge Galaz Espinoza, former Director of El Pequeño Cottolengo, was found guilty of repeated violations against two mentally disabled minors. In 2005 Galaz was sentenced to 15 years in jail.
- Diocese of Punta Arenas
- Jaime Low Cabezas, was found guilty of a sexual abuse against a 15-year-old minor. In 2009 Low was sentenced to 3 years in jail.
- Víctor Hugo Carrera, was found guilty of a sexual abuse against one underprivileged minor. In 2005 Carrera was sentenced to 541 days in jail and to pay 2 million pesos in damages to the family of the victim. The case involved the bishop of the diocese, who was accused of protecting Carrera and facilitating his escape to Bolivia, where he lived for two years.
In 2007, Daniel Bernardo Beltrán Murguía Ward, a 42-year-old SCV consecrated layman was found by the National Police in a hostel in Cercado de Lima with a 12-year-old boy, of whom he was taking sexually explicit pictures. The boy was initially lured by Murguía Ward in Miraflores, where he was given Pokémon figures in exchange for photos of his intimate parts. When Murguía Ward was caught, he had paid the boy 20 soles ($7 USD) for his services in the hostel. The police have reported that pictures of two other boys were also found on Murguía Ward's camera and that the boy has claimed he received oral sex from Murguía Ward. These charges have been denied by the accused. Murguía Ward has since been removed from the SCV for his alleged misconduct.
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