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Catholic Church sexual abuse cases by country

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This page documents Catholic Church sex abuse cases by country. The Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Europe has been documented by cases in several dioceses in European nations. Investigation and widespread reporting were conducted in the early 21st century related to dioceses in the United States of America; several American dioceses were bankrupted by settlement of civil lawsuits from victims. A significant number of cases have also been reported in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.[1]

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.[2] 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 reported abuse allegations and court cases has increased worldwide since then.

The UN 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. It has also asked how the Vatican prevents abusers from contacting additional 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 to law enforcement and allowing abusers further contact with children. 1 November 2013 was set as a deadline for receiving the information.[3]


In a statement read 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 to that of other groups and denominations.[4]

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".[5][6] Plante's article was based on 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.[7] According to an article reported in Newsweek magazine, the figure for adult abuse of children in the Catholic Church is similar to that in the rest of the adult population.[8]

After widespread publicity about the abuse, in 2013 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." A group had filed charges in the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Catholic Church for what it said was crimes against humanity because of its policy on this issue.[9][10] The ICC refused to investigate. SNAP representatives note there most Catholics were found in the Third World, where child molestation is more easily concealed. They argued that it was necessary to guard against "the tempting assumption that the worst of this scandal is somehow behind us."[10]



In 2009 several people accused an Italian priest working in the country of sexual molestation. The Church assured them it was investigating the case, but that did not appear to happen. Kenyan police said they found no evidence and believed Sesana is innocent.[11]

In 2010 a young woman alleged that a Catholic priest had raped her but the police and Church authorities had failed to follow up the allegations.[12]

The 2011 Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) documentary "A Mission To Prey" publicised Kenya's clerical abuse cases, saying they should have been handled with more transparency. It was discovered that this program mistakenly alleged that Fr. Kevin Reynolds was an abuser, causing him to be 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 allowed continued access to this programme online, while upwards of 32 slander and libel cases are pending in reaction by alleged abusers.[13][14]

In 2011 a Dutch bishop in Kenya was reported to be under probe over alleged sex abuse. He was alleged to have abused a minor 18 years before while serving as a priest in Ngong diocese.[15] He was retired by the church.[16]


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.[17][18][19][20] 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.[18][19] Although known about by the Rosminians before Cunningham's death in 2010, the abuse was not reported by the media until 2011.[21][22][23][24][25] Formal action was launched by a group of former pupils who filed a civil suit at the civil court in Leicester, UK on 20 March 2013.[26]


The audited financial statements for the year ending 5 April 2015 report under the heading “Legal and safeguarding related costs" that "Last year’s report referred to legal claims which had been brought against the Charity concerning the welfare of children between approximately 1940 and 1985. A settlement has now been reached in relation to these claims." The Charity was liable also for the claimants' legal fees. The matter has had a significant impact on the Charity’s finances with payment of their legal and settlement costs amounting to a total GBP 1,746,523 for the year.[27]


East Timor[edit]

  • In 2019, an American missionary Richard Daschbach, expelled because allegations of child abuse.[28]


  • In 2002 and 2012, at least five damage reports had been filed over clergy sexual abuse.[29]


  • In 2002 the Catholic Church apologized for sexual abuses, including adultery, homosexuality and child abuse by 200 priests over the previous 20 years.[30]
  • In 2003 at least 34 priests were suspended in a sex abuse scandal involving sexual harassment of women. Twenty men were from a single diocese.[31]
  • In 2011, a priest accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old female minor was sheltered by his Bishop, despite calls for his surrender to civil authorities.[32]
  • In 2017, a priest was arrested in Marikina City for attempting to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.[33]


  • In 2002, Mathew N. Schmalz noted that Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in India are generally not spoken about openly, stating "you would have gossip and rumors, but it never reaches the level of formal charges or controversies."[34]
  • In 2014, Raju Kokkan, the vicar of the Saint Paul's Church in Thaikkattussery, Thrissur, Kerala, was arrested on charges of raping a nine-year-old girl. According to Kerala Police, Kokkan had raped the child on several different occasions, including at least thrice in his office during the month of April. Kokkan promised to gift the child expensive vestments for her Holy Communion ceremony before sexually assaulting her. The abuse was revealed after the victim informed her parents that she had been raped by Kokkan on 25 April 2014. The priest subsequently fled to Nagercoil in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, and was arrested by police on 5 May. Following the arrest, the Thrissur Archdiocese stated that the vicar had been removed from his position within the Church. Between February and April 2014, three other Catholic priests were arrested in the state of Kerala on charges of raping minors.[35][36]
  • In 2016, the Catholic Church reappointed a convicted and jailed priest in the Ootacamund Diocese in Tamil Nadu, with little regard for victims rights and children's safety.[37][38]
  • In 2017, Father Robin or Mathew Vadakkancheril of St Sebastian church in Kannur was arrested in Kochi on the charge of repeatedly raping a 15-year-old girl who later gave birth to a child. The baby is reported to have been taken to an orphanage without the mother's consent.[39]
  • In 2018, after much public outcry, Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested on 21 September by the Kerala Police. The Vatican had just 'temporarily' relieved him from his pastoral responsibilities. The nun who complained against Bishop Franco had mentioned to the police that he had repeatedly had unnatural sex with her on multiple occasions between 2014 and 2016.[40]



Archdiocese of Vienna

In 1995 Hans Hermann Cardinal Groer stepped down as head of the Catholic Church in Austria following accusations of sexual misconduct. In 1998 he left the country and lost the duties of a Cardinal.[41] Nevertheless, he still retained the title of a Cardinal.[42]

Kremsmuenster Abbey

In March 2010, several monks were suspended at Kremsmunster Abbey, located in the Upper Austria city of Kremsmunster, for severe allegations of sexual abuse and physical violence. The reported incidences ranged over a period from the 1970s until the late 1990s and had been subject to police investigation.[43] In July 2013 an Austrian court found Kremsmuenster Abbey director Alfons Mandorfer guilty in 24 documented cases of child abuse and sexual violence.[44] The now defrocked priest, who was accused of committing committing “sexual acts of differing intensity” on the pupils between 1973 and 1993, was sentenced to twelve years in prison.[44] By 2013, the school had paid approximately €700,000 in compensation.[45]


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. He was also alleged to possess child pornography.[46]


Archdiocese of Zagreb
  • Ivan Čuček was convicted [47] in 2000 of sexual abuse of 37 young girls, and sentenced to three years in prison. This term was later reduced by the Supreme Court[48] to one-and-a-half years.
Archdiocese of Rijeka
  • Drago Ljubičić, a Catholic priest on the isle of Rab, was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for molesting five teenage boys. He will be the first Catholic priest in Croatia to serve prison time for sexual abuse.[49] When asked by Catholic press agency Glas Koncila (prior to scandal) why children avoid going to church, he blamed the 'strong influence of communism on island Rab'.[50]
Archdiocese of Zadar
  • Nediljko Ivanov, former vicar of Bibinje, is the first priest in Croatia which has been convicted for pedophilia by a church court. Ivanov was first suspected in 2012 when four of his victims reported him to the State's Attorney Office for pedophile activities that occurred in the period from 1983 to 1991. Ivanov wasn't prosecuted in a civilian court due to statute of limitations of legally prescribed 15 years, because cases have been reported in 2012 or six years after the statute of limitations went into power. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was also informed about the case, but it did not use its authority to remove a pedophile priest from the Church. Church Court ruled that Ivanov can still serve Mass, but was sentenced to fasting, prayer and was ordered to apologize to the victims that he sexually abused. One of the victims stated in 2014 that he finds the judgment satisfactory because everyone know about Ivanov being a pedophile, but he doesn't consider sentence to be fair. Ivanov lives in a home for retired priests in Zadar.[51][52][53]


In February 2019, Pope Francis alluded to the closure of a religious order due to the 'sexual slavery' of the nuns within it.[54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61] Some sources identify the congregation he intended as a part of the Community of St. Jean.[55][56] The Vatican's Press Office however claimed that "sexual manipulation had occurred within this women’s religious congregation, not actual sex slavery."[62]

Seine et Marne
  • Henri Lebras was sentenced to ten years for the rape of a twelve-year-old boy between 1995 and 1998.[63]


In February 2010 Der Spiegel reported that more than 94 clerics and laymen have been suspected of sexual abuse since 1995. Thirty had been prosecuted because legal time constraints related to the occurrence of alleged crimes prevented prosecution of older cases.[64] In 2017, it was further reported that at least 547 members of the prestigious Domspatzen choir in Regensburg were physically or sexually abused between 1945 and 1992.[65]

In September 2018 a report was leaked that reported that 3,677 children in Germany, mostly boys under age 13, were sexually abused by Catholic clergy members over the past seven decades". About 1,670 church workers, or 4.4% of the clergy, had been involved in the abuse which is "shocking and probably just the tip of the iceberg" according to Germany's Federal Justice Minister Katarina Barley[66] The report was not fully independent of the church and likely understated the activity, as journalists have been forbidden from looking at church files which could contain more reports of abuse.[67] The full report was officially released by the German Catholic Church on 25 September, and included an apology by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop of Munich and Freising and head of the German Bishops’ Conference, and other German Bishops.[68][69][67][70] The incidents were reported to have happened between the years 1946 and 2014.[67] The report's author criticised the Church for denying him access to other Catholic institutions, including children's homes and schools, which could consequently not be included.[71][70] It was also reported that local dioceses destroyed some files containing more reports of sex abuse.[67][67] Some of the "predator priests" were transferred to other parishes in order to avoid scrutiny.[67]


In August 2018, a list was published which revealed that over 1,300 Catholic clergy in Ireland had been accused of sexual abuse, with 82 of them getting convicted.[72][73][74]

Archdiocese of Dublin

Several priests convicted of abusing children in the United States were Irish nationals, notably Patrick Colleary, Anthony O'Connell and Oliver O'Grady.

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.


  • The Italian Government has a treaty with the Vatican that guarantees areas of immunity to Vatican officials, including bishops and priests. This has made it difficult to get accurate figures as to how many priests and other religious officials are alleged to have committed sexual abuse.[75]
  • 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.[76]


  • Eighty-four allegations had been made as of April 2010. Lawrence Grech, one of many alleged victims, complained that he was abused in an orphanage. Grech complained in 2010 that the Church had been investigating cases for seven years without doing enough that is effective. The pope spoke personally to Grech and other victims, praising their courage in coming forward.[77][78][79] 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 officially regretted the delays before investigations; it promised to remove Fr Pulis from the priesthood.[80]
  • 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.[81]


Since 1995 the church established new procedures to receive reports of sexual abuse. Alleged victims can notify a central church institution, called Secretariaat Rooms-Katholiek Kerkgenootschap (SRRK). The church made this change in response to charges of alleged cases of sexual abuse by religious members of the Roman Catholic Church.[82][83]

In 1993, Father H.H.M. Jansen was denounced for sexual abuse during his activities as military pastor and as a faculty member of the seminary of Rolduc.[84]

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; this was part of a settlement to avoid civil prosecution.[85]

Father J. Ceelen, pastor of the parishes of Lieshout and of Mariahout (municipality of Laarbeek), quit his post after allegations of sexual abuse on 1 September 2005.[86]

In February 2010 Salesians were accused of sexual abuse in their juvenate Don Rua in 's-Heerenberg. Salesian bishop of Rotterdam van Luyn pleaded for a thorough investigation.[87]

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.[88]


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.[89][90]


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.[91][92] On September 27, 2018, however, Bishop Romuald Kamiński of the Diocese of Warsaw-Praga stated that Polish church leaders were working on a document, to be published later, on priestly sexual abuse of minors in Poland, and ways to prevent it. Cases were being evaluated by Warsaw courts, and the priests involved were banned from working with minors; three were suspended from all pastoral work.[93] According to Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the head of Poland's Catholic Church, the document will include data on the scale of priestly sex abuse in Poland.[93]

On October 8, 2018, a victims group mapped out 255 cases of alleged sex abuse in Poland.[94]

Statistics were released on 14 April 2019, commissioned by the Episcopal Conference of Poland and with data from over 10,000 local parishes. It was found that from 1990 to mid-2018, abuse reports about 382 priests were made to the Church, with 625 children, mostly under 16, sexually abused by members of the Catholic clergy. There were opinions that the figures underestimated the extent of the problem, and failed to answer questions church officials had avoided for years.[95] Marek Lisinski, the co-founder of Don’t Be Afraid, which represents victims of clerical abuse, said "Tell us how [the priests] hurt those children and how many times they were transferred to different parishes before you paid notice". The data were released a few weeks after Pope Francis had called for "an all-out battle against the abuse of minors". After pressure from the Pope, in the preceding years Poland’s church had publicly apologized to abuse victims, and accepted the need to report those accused of such crimes. In earlier times clergy to whom sexual abuse of minors was reported were not required by their superiors to notify the police, but to investigate themselves, and if necessary inform the Vatican.[95]

On May 11, 2019, Polak issued an apology on behalf of the entire Catholic Church in Poland.[96][97] The same day, Tell No One, a documentary detailing accounts of sex abuse by Catholic church workers in Poland, went viral, obtaining 8.1 million viewers on YouTube by May 13.[98] The film accused former Polish leader Lech Walesa's personal priest Franciszek Cybula, who is now deceased, of sexual abuse and noted that he transferred between parishes.[99][100][101] confess to molesting many young girls.[100][101][99] The film also alleges that Rev. Dariusz Olejniczak, a priest who was sentenced for molesting 7-year-old girls, was allowed to continue working with young people despite his conviction.[100][101][99] On May 14, 2019, Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has long had an alliance with the nation's Catholic Bishops,[98] agreed to increase penalties for child sex abuse by raising the maximum prison sentence from 12 years to 30 years and raising the age of consent from 15 to 16.[102] Prosecutor and PiS lawmaker Stanislaw Piotrowicz, who heads the Polish Parliament's Justice Commission, has also been criticized for playing down the actions of a priest who was convicted for inappropriately touching and kissing young girls.[103]

Diocese of Kielce

In Tell No One a priest known as Father Jan A., who served the Diocese of Kielce in the village of Topola and whose case is being reviewed by the Vatican, confessed to molesting many young girls.[99][104]

Archdiocese of Poznań

In March 2002 the Archbishop of Poznań, Juliusz Paetz, stepped down following accusations, which he denied, of sexually molesting young priests.[105]

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.[106]

Diocese of Warsaw-Praga

On September 27, 2018, Warsaw-Praga Bishop Romuald Kamiński apologized to those who had been victims of sexual abuse in his Diocese.[93]


Archdiocese of Ljubljana
  • Franc Frantar - detained in 2006[107] for sexual abuse of up to 16 minors. He was later sentenced to five years in prison.[108] He initially escaped prosecution by escaping to Malawi to work there as a missionary, but returned to Slovenia after an 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.[109]

United Kingdom[edit]

Abuse affairs have also affected several UK dioceses.


Archdiocese of Birmingham[edit]

Father Alexander Bede Walsh was sentenced to 22 years in prison in March 2012 for serious paedophile offenses[clarification needed] against boys. Walsh used religion to control his young victims, telling one boy that drinking alcohol would get him to heaven, and another believed that the abuse was the hand of God touching him, for example. One young victim was driven to a suicide attempt.[110][111][112][113] Walsh had a previous conviction for computer indecency.[114]

James Robinson worked in parishes in the English Midlands and when an accusation of child abuse happened in the 1980s, the Roman Catholic Church allowed him to escape to the United States though they knew about an "unwholesome relationship" the priest had with a boy. Robinson remained free for over 20 years till in the first decade of the 21st century he was extradited back to the UK to face charges. Robinson has received a 21-year prison sentence for multiple paedophile offenses.[115][116] The Roman Catholic Church paid Robinson up to £800 per month despite knowing the allegations against him.[117]

There are widespread accusations of physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse of unprotected children at Father Hudson Home, Coleshill, Warwickshire. There are even allegations that vulnerable children disappeared inexplicably. According to reports, priests and nuns were the perpetrators.[118][119]

Diocese of Shrewsbury[edit]

In December 2012, staff at the Christian Brothers school St Ambrose College, Altrincham, were implicated in a child sex abuse case involving teaching staff carrying out alleged acts of abuse both on and off school grounds, although no current staff are said to be involved.[120] More than fifty former pupils contacted police, either as victims of, or witnesses to, sexual abuse. The alleged sexual abuse, including molestation of children while corporal punishment was administered, stemmed from 1962 onwards and continued over four decades.[121]

Archdiocese of Liverpool[edit]

Archdiocese of Southwark[edit]

Diocese of Arundel and Brighton[edit]

In July 2000 the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (later a cardinal), acknowledged he had made a mistake while he was Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in the 1980s by allowing a pedophile to carry on working as a priest. The priest at the center of the controversy, Father Michael Hill, was jailed in 1997 for abusing nine boys over a 20-year period.[105]

Diocese of Plymouth[edit]


Belmont Abbey[edit]

In 2004 former priest John Kinsey of Belmont Abbey, Herefordshire, was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court for 5 years for sexual assaults on schoolboys in the mid-1980s.[125][126]

Buckfast Abbey School[edit]

In 2007 two former monks from Buckfast Abbey were sentenced for sexually abusing boys.[123][124]

Kiltegan Fathers[edit]

Jeremiah McGrath of the Kiltegan Fathers was convicted in Liverpool in May 2007 for facilitating abuse by Billy Adams. McGrath had given Adams £20,000 in 2005 and Adams had used the money to impress a 12-year-old girl who he then raped over a six-month period. McGrath denied knowing about the abuse but admitted having a brief sexual relationship with Adams. His appeal in January 2008 was dismissed.[127]

Diocese of Middlesbrough[edit]

James Carragher, principal of the former St. William's residential school, Market Weighton owned by the Diocese of Middlesbrough, was jailed for 14 years in 2004 for abusing boys in his care over a 20-year period.[128] The principal and the chaplain (Anthony McCallen) at the school were both given prison sentences in 2016. The sentencing judge said:

The victims were effectively trapped and there was no escape from you. They were confused, frightened and in turmoil. It has blighted their lives and each of you had contributed significantly to their misery. [Victims endured] severe long-term, continuing psychological harm as a result of what you did[129]

Over 200 former pupils at St William's say they were abused there. Many former pupils are suing for compensation. The school catered for boys with emotional and behavioural problems.[130]

Ealing Abbey, St Benedict's School[edit]

In 2009, Dom David Pearce, a monk of Ealing Abbey and former headmaster of the junior department of its associated school, St Benedict's, was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing boys.[131] In April 2006, civil damages were awarded jointly against Pearce in relation to an alleged assault by Pearce on a pupil while teaching at the school in the 1990s, although criminal charges were dropped.[132]

In October 2017, Andrew Soper (known as Father Laurence), former abbot of Ealing Abbey, was found guilty on 19 sexual offences against pupils of St Benedict's school in the 1970s and 1980s.[133][134]


Child sex abuse has affected many different Scottish diocese and the credibility of the Church has been damaged. Some Catholics lost faith due to the scandal.[135]

One notable case was an unnamed woman many times locked in a darkened room by a sexually abusive nun who was her carer. Aged 8 she told a priest about the abuse during Confessions. After that the priest and the nun raped her together. There are allegations that at Fort Augustus Abbey there were physical beating, verbal humiliation and sexual abuse. Carlkemp prep school, a feeder school preparing younger pupils for Fort Augustus is also implicated. The Guardian and the BBC both reported complaints that the Scottish Church hierarchy did not cooperate fully over investigations of child sex abuse.[136] Alan Draper of Dundee University accused the Scottish Catholic Church of reluctance to expose priests leading double lives including those accused of sex abuse. Draper revealed bishops knew of 20 cases from 1985 to 1995 but refused to bring in experts. Draper wants relevant files given to a judicial enquiry.[137] Public offers of support from the Church for abuse victims are met with private lack of support and an adversarial attitude when legal action is involved. Draper alleges this contrasts with protection, therapy and financial help traditionally provided for abusers. Draper commented, "The latest statement makes no mention of assessing what support has been provided to survivors. It is window dressing yet again. They have learned nothing."[138]

Victims describe The McLellan Report into child sex abuse as a whitewash.[139] The McLellan Report fails to state which bishops and priests were responsible over decades of child sex abuse and in Scotland, which members of the hierarchy knew about abuse without acting, and ordered victims not to be supported. Some guilty priests will be given the job of introducing safeguards in their parishes while it is feared denial and corruption will continue in the Church.[140] Flaws in the procedures for addressing sexual abuse highlighted in the report include different rules and standards in different dioceses and lack of central guidance on sanctions, abuse victims being left out when central policies were drafted and disregarding United Nations definitions of abuse.[141] There was a culture of cover-up where words were not met with actions.[135][142] However, it has been acknowledged in at least one case that former Diocese of Galloway Bishop Maurice Taylor had received a confession of abuse from local Ayrshire priest Paul Moore in 1996 and choose to send Moore to a treatment centre in Toronto and to Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands instead of turning him into the authorities.[143]

Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh[edit]

Complaints were made that Cardinal Keith O'Brien was guilty of predatory sexual acts against various junior clerics. O'Brien admitted unspecified sexual misconduct.

Diocese of Motherwell[edit]

In 2016, Fr. John Farrell, Retired priest of the Diocese of Motherwell,[144] the last Head teacher at St Ninian's Orphanage, Falkland, Fife, was sentenced to five years imprisonment. His colleague Paul Kelly, a retired teacher from Portsmouth, was given ten years, both were convicted of the physical and sexual abuse of boys between the years 1979 and 1983. More than 100 charges involving 35 boys were made.[145] Farrell and Kelly were members of the Irish Christian Brothers when the crimes were committed at the orphanage which closed in 1983. According to The Times, it is believed this was the largest historical abuse case ever tried in Scotland.[146]

Diocese of Galloway[edit]

In 2018, Fr. Paul Moore was convicted of sexually abusing three children between 1977 and 1981 and a student priest in 1995.[143][147][148]


Archdiocese of Cardiff[edit]

North America[edit]


Archdiocese of St. John's

In the 1990s, criminal proceedings began against members of the Christian Brothers in Newfoundland.


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.[152] Maciel maintained his innocence of the accusations.

United States[edit]

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.[153] 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.[154][155][156]

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.[157]

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 Canada–United States border. The abuse occurred in 2004, and charges were filed in 2006 and amended in 2007.[158] 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.[159] The Archbishop of Madras, India (Madras is now called "Chennai") has asked Jeyapaul to return to the US to face the charges.[160] Jevapaul has said that he will not fight extradition if the US seeks it.[161]

Diocese of Davenport

On 10 October 2006, the Diocese of Davenport filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[162]

Archdiocese of Denver

In July 2008 the Archdiocese of Denver paid a settlement of $5.5 million to 18 claims of alleged sexual abuse perpetrated by two clerics between the years of 1954 and 1981.[163]

Archdiocese of Dubuque

In 2006 the Archdiocese settled a number of claims of sexual abuse, and the Archbishop offered a personal apology.[164]

Diocese of Fall River

Father James Porter was a Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of molesting 28 children;[165] He admitted sexually abusing at least 100 of both sexes over a period of 30 years, starting in the 1960s.[166] 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.[167]

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 12 November 2005.

Reverend Mr. James "Ron" Gonsalves, Wailuku, Hawaii, Gonsalves the administrator of Saint Ann Roman Catholic Church in Waihee, Maui, pleaded guilty on 17 May 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.[168] 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.[169]

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.[170]

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.[171]

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.[citation needed] 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.[172]

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.[173][174]

Diocese of Oakland

In 1981, the former Rev. Stephen Kiesle was convicted for tying up and molesting two boys in a California church rectory.[175] From 1981 to 1985, Bishop John Stephen Cummins, who oversaw Kiesle, contacted the Vatican about laicizing 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 laicized Kiesle. The letter was widely regarded as evidence of Ratzinger's role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests.[176][177] Vatican officials responded that that interpretation rested on a misreading of the letter, in which the issue was not whether Kiesle should be laicized 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.[178][179]

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.[180]

Diocese of Orange, California

On 3 January 2005 Bishop Tod Brown of the Diocese of Orange apologized to 87 alleged victims of sexual abuse and announced a settlement of $100 million following two years of mediation.

Diocese of Palm Beach

Joseph Keith Symons resigned as ordinary in 1998 after admitting he molested five boys while he was a pastor.[181] Symons' successor, Anthony O'Connell, resigned in 2002, after admitting that he, too, had engaged in sexual abuse.

Catholic Church in Pennsylvania
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.[182] 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.[183] 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 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.[184]

In 2005, Rev. Francis Engels pleaded guilty to molesting a Peoria altar boy on trips to Milwaukee in the early 1980s.[185]

Diocese of Phoenix

On 21 November 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.[186]

Archdiocese of Portland (Oregon)

The Archdiocese of Portland filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on 6 July 2004, hours before two abuse trials were set to begin.[citation needed] Portland became the first Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy. An open letter to the archdiocese's parishioners explained the archbishop's motivation.[187]

Archdiocese of San Antonio

John Salazar was sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting an 18-year-old parishioner.[188]

Diocese of San Diego

On 27 February 2007, the Diocese of San Diego filed for Chapter 11 protection, hours before the first of about 150 lawsuits was due to be heard.[citation needed]

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.[189]

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.[190]

Diocese of Stockton

Fr. Oliver O'Grady molested multiple children in Stockton.[191] The 2006 documentary Deliver Us from Evil is based on accusations that Bishop Roger Mahony knew that Oliver O'Grady was an active pedophile.[192]

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 11 June 2005, specifying terms that included allowing the diocese reorganization to continue in return for a $22.2 million settlement.[193]

Diocese of Wheeling–Charleston, West Virginia

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield resigned, effective immediately, in September 2018 over unspecified allegations of sexual misconduct.[194]



Archdiocese of Sydney
  • Ross Murrin: Catholic brother pleaded guilty to sexually abusing eight male students.[195]
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.[196]
  • Gerry Francis Ridsdale: convicted in 1994, he pleaded guilty on 46 sexual offenses.[197]
  • Wilfred James Baker: sentenced to four years in prison (parole after 2 years) for crimes involving eight boys.[198]
  • David Daniel: sentenced to six years' jail, with parole after 4½ years, for molesting four boys, a girl and an adult male.[199]
  • 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.[200]
  • 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.[201]

New Zealand[edit]

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.

South America[edit]


  • 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".[202]
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.[203] This led to a victim from a 1992 incident coming forward, followed by a conviction for eight years in December 2009.[204]


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.[205][206][207] 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.[208] In November 2005 he was sentenced to a prison term of over 14 years.[209][210]
  • 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.[211]
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.[212]


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.[213]
  • Ricardo Muñoz Quinteros, priest of Melipilla, was charged in 2010 with eight cases of sexually abusing minors, including his own daughter. Quinteros is also being investigated for producing pornographic material involving children.[214]
  • 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.[215] He was found guilty and convicted by the Vatican in 18 February 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. Karadima has not acknowledged any wrongdoing.[216] On September 28, 2018, Pope Francis issued a communique ordering the defrocking of Karadima[217][218]
  • In 2018, a lawsuit was filed against the Archdiocese of Santiago for allegations of covering up sex abuse committed by Karadima[219]
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.[220]
  • In 2010, Juan Henríquez Zapata was indicted for using minors for sex services.[221]
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.[222]
Marist Brothers Education Facilities
  • Cristián Precht Bañados, was suspended from ministry from 2012-2017 after he was found guilty of sexually abusing minors and vulnerable adults. Was later defrocked by Pope Francis in 2018[223]
  • Manuel Ortega, was found guilty of molesting boys.[223] In 2012 Ortega was sentenced to 32 years in prison.[224] Died in 2015[223]


In 2007, Daniel Bernardo Beltrán Murguía Ward, a 42-year-old Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (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.[225][226][227]

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