Catholic Church sexual abuse cases in Europe

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The Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Europe has affected several dioceses in European nations.



Archdiocese of Vienna[edit]

In 1995 Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër stepped down as head of the Roman Catholic Church in Austria following accusations of sexual misconduct. In 1998 he left the country. He remained a cardinal.[1]

Diocese of Sankt Pölten[edit]

Bishop Kurt Krenn resigned from his post in 2004 after there was a scandal concerning child pornography allegedly being downloaded by a student at the seminary.[2][3] Up to 40,000 photos and an undisclosed number of films, including child pornography, were found on the computer of one of the seminarians, but Krenn earlier angered many by calling the images a "childish prank."[4]


Abuse affairs have affected several Belgian dioceses, which were hurt by allegations of abuse similar to those found in other Western countries. In response to this, an independent commission was established by the Belgian Episcopal Conference in 2000 under the presidency of Godelieve Halsberghe, a retired magistrate. A total of more than 300 complaints were made to the commission. The commission ultimately dealt with 33 formal complaints. 32 complaints were upheld by the commission, 1 was ruled false. Of these, only 1 case came before a court, because the facts of the other 31 cases were concerned with statutes of limitation. In about half of the 32 cases, the alleged abusers, clerics and religious, refused to appear before the commission, due to a lack of cooperation from the Belgian episcopate in forcing hierarchical obeyance to do so. The president and numerous commission members resigned from the commission as a result.

A second Independent Commission was established in 2009 under the presidency of psychiatrist Peter Adriaenssens.[5] He resigned his commission in the aftermath of the large-scale police raid on 24 June 2010. Judicial police searched the archbishopric palace in Mechlin whilst the Belgian episcopal conference was officially meeting. Further searches were conducted at the archbishopric cathedral of Mechlin, the private residence of former archbishop Godfried Danneels in Mechlin and the offices of the independent commission in Leuven. 450 internal dossiers were confiscated.[6]

Archdiocese of Mechlin-Brussels[edit]

  • Former parish priest André Vanderlyn of Saint-Gillis parish in Brussels was arrested 20 June 1997 on charges of rape of a minor. He later confessed to seven rape cases between 1968 and 1997.[7]
  • On 18 December 2008, former parish priest Robert Borremans was sentenced to five years in prison for sexual abuse of a 6-year-old boy from 1994 until 2001. His sentence was uphold in the Brussels court of appeal in April 2010. As a consequence, he will be laicised. He had previously been convicted for indecent exposure. He presided over the marriage mass of Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium and his wife Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz.[8][9][10][11]

Diocese of Antwerp[edit]

  • April 8, 1999, former parish priest Joris Horvath was beaten to death on the street by Wim C. After a police investigation it was revealed that Wim C. had been sexually abused by the dead priest as a child. Wim C. was shot & wounded in the shoulder by the Special Forces of the police during the incident.[5][12]
  • Former parish priest Bruno Vos of the Onze Lieve Vrouw ten Hemel Opgenomen Nieuwmoer-parish in Kalmthout was officially charged with rape of four minors by the Belgian judiciary. There are also allegations of possession of child pornography included in the charge.[12] The Antwerp court of appeal sentenced him to nine years imprisonment in April 2009.[13][14]
  • Former Sint-Filippus-parish in Schoten parish priest Jef Van den Ouweland was convicted in 2003 for the rape of three boys, who were abused since 1982.[15]

Diocese of Bruges[edit]

  • On 14 November 2005, former religious brother Luc D. of the Congregation of the Fratres Van Dale was sentenced by a Belgian court to 10 years imprisonment for sexual abuse of 20 mentally handicapped persons over a period of 16 years.[16]
  • On 14 November 2005, former religious brother Roger H. of the Congregation of the Fratres Van Dale was sentenced by a Belgian court to 10 years imprisonment for sexual abuse of mentally handicapped persons.[16]
  • In April 2010, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe resigned after admitting to the sexual abuse of a boy during his career as a priest and his early years as a bishop.[17]
  • Father Marc Vangheluwe resigned his post as deacon for the parish community of Ieper-Sint-Elooi and teacher in a school for handicapped children in May 2010 following the media backlash concerning paedophilia. He was convicted in a criminal court for the rape of a minor during the eighties, but could continue his activities as a teacher and pastoral worker.[18]

Diocese of Ghent[edit]

  • In 1881, the Brothers of our Lady of Lourdes were confronted with a first scandal. One brother was sent to jail. In the 1960s a new scandal erupted in the same institute.
  • Former parish priest Leo A. of Sint-Martinus parish at Bavegem was convicted to 7 years imprisonment for raping minor choir boys.[19][20]

Diocese of Hasselt[edit]

On 27 November 2009, parish priest Bart Aben of Overpelt parish in Limburg was arrested by the police on accusations of rape and sexual abuse of two children, one male and one female, in his previous parish, Bocholtz over a long period of time, from 1991 until 2008. He confessed his abuse to his bishop, Mgr. Patrick Hoogmartens and the police.[5][21]

Diocese of Liège[edit]

On 25 September 1992, parish priest Louis Dupont of Kinkempois parish near Liège was convicted to three years imprisonment and five years in case of repetition by a Belgian court for the rape of a minor girl and boy in 1990.[22][23]

Diocese of Namur[edit]

  • On 25 October 2000, former parish priest André Louis of Ottré parish near Namur was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for the rape of 26 children over a long period of time.[24][25]
  • Former parish priest Gilbert Hubermont of a Greater-Namur parish was convicted for sexual harassment of a 14-year-old choir boy from Aubange between 1987 and 1991. The case was reopened and Hubermont was finally convicted 5 June 2007.[26][27]

Diocese of Tournai[edit]

Priest Jean-François Gysels, former parish priest in Brunehaut and Rumes and former deacon of Antoing in the diocese of Tournai, was arrested in 2006 as a result of operation Falcon, an American led worldwide investigation of internet child pornography.[28][29]


In 2007, a Belgian criminal court convicted Willem V.C., a laicised Salesian priest, to 4 years imprisonment for sexual delinquency with multiple adolescent minors. During the criminal investigation by the police and judiciary, previous acts of sexual delinquency were discovered that occurred during his membership of the Salesian congregation. He was expelled from this order in 2001 for these incidents.[5]


Archdiocese of Zagreb[edit]

Ivan Čuček convicted [30] in 2000 for sexual abuse of 37 young girls, sentenced to three years in prison, but later the Croatian Supreme Court reduced the sentence [31] to one and a half years in case he commits such crime again.

Archdiocese of Rijeka[edit]

Drago Ljubičić convicted in 2007 was Catholic priest on island Rab sentenced to three years in prison for molesting five teenage boys. He will be first Catholic priest to serve prison time for sexual abuse in Croatia [1]. 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'.[32]

Czech Republic[edit]

Archdiocese of Olomouc[edit]

In 2000 Fr. František Merta and Olomouc Archbishop Jan Graubner were charged after allegations were made by a theology student, Václav Novák, that Merta had sexually abused altar boys since 1995. Novák persuaded a group of victims to come forward with their allegations against Merta. In 2001, Merta was found guilty of sexually abusing more than 20 boys and given a suspended sentence of two years. When he was a priest in Moravia, Archbishop Jan Graubner failed to report him. Instead, Graubner moved him from location to location whenever problems appeared. A book about Merta's child sexual abuse cases, Krici Hlasem Zrady (They Are Shouting the Voice of Betrayal), was published in March 2001 by Václav Novák.[33]


Diocese of Copenhagen[edit]

In the end of April 2010 Danish Catholic Church reported pedophilia cases has risen to 17 cases.[34]


Abuse affairs have also affected the Church in France.[35]

Diocese of Bayeux[edit]

A priest of the Diocese of Bayeux, Father Rene Bissey, was convicted in 2000 of having molested eleven young boys. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison. His Bishop, Pierre Pican, was given a suspended sentence of three months for failing to report the charges against Bissey to civil authorities.[36]

Archdiocese of Besançon[edit]

  • Bruno Kieffer gave to a nine-year-old girl a gym lesson with both of them naked, showed to his class a latex thong he was wearing, and was sentenced to one year for exhibition and sexual aggression of a fifteen-year-old girl.[37]
  • Jean Luc Heckner - sentenced to 16 years in jail on charges of raping seven young boys (11-14yrs) between 1992 and 1998.[38]

Diocese of Chambéry[edit]

Abbé Pierre Dufour of Saint-Jean-de- Maurienne, then 71, was convicted to 15 years in prison for sexual abuse from 1960 to 2000 on young people, some of them troubled that he was charged of assist.

Archdiocese of Clermont[edit]

  • An unnamed priest was convicted by a French court in 2017 of molesting four victims while serving in the Central African Republic.[39]

Diocese of Evreux[edit]

65-year-old Canadian-born priest Denis Vadeboncoeur of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Évreux was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the rape of minors at the paroisse de Lieurey (Eure) between 1989 and 1992.[38]

Diocese of Meaux[edit]

Parish priest Henri Lebras of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Meaux was sentenced to ten years for the rape of a twelve-year-old boy between 1995 and 1998.[40]

Diocese of Orléans[edit]

In November 2018, retired priest Pierre de Castelet was convicted of abusing several boys under 15 in 1993.[41] A retired bishop of the diocese, Andre Fort, was convicted of failing to report complaints against the priest in 2010.[41] Castelet was given a sentence of two years in prison and forced psychiatric treatment, while Fort was given an eight month suspended sentence.[42] Three victims were awarded 16,000 euros ($18,245) each in damages.[42]

Archdiocese of Paris[edit]


  • 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.[46]
  • On March 30, 2010 the Catholic Church set up a Sexual Abuse Hotline in Germany and received almost 2,700 calls in its first three days of operation.[47]
  • In July 2017, it was further reported that at least 547 members of the prestigious Domspatzen choir in Regensburg were physically abused, sexually abused, or both between 1945 and 1992.[48]
  • In September 2018, a leaked report showed that 1,670 church workers were accused of molesting 3,677 children throughout Germany between the years 1946 and 2014.[49] More incidents were likely reported at different times, but cannot yet be disclosed due to the lack of independent access to church files.[49] The victims were predominantly male and more than half of them were 13 years of age or younger.[49] A number of the "predator priests" were also relocated to other parishes to avoid scrutiny and additional files containing more reports of sex abuse were also destroyed by local dioceses.[49] The report did not include all the Catholic Church's institutions, namely religious orders and all the schools and children's homes they run.[50]

Archdiocese of Munich and Freising[edit]

The German daily newspaper the Süddeutsche Zeitung revealed details of the mishandling of the case of a pedophile priest in the archdiocese of Munich in the early 1980s when Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) was archbishop of Munich. In January 1980 Cardinal Ratzinger approved the transfer of Father Peter Hullermann, who had been accused of sexual abuse, including forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex upon him, to Munich to undergo therapy.[51] Despite his record, Hullermann was assigned work in the area of pastoral care where he again abused minors. In June 1986 he was convicted of sexually abusing minors, fined DM4,000 and given an 18-month suspended sentence. Hullermann continued to serve as a priest in a variety of parishes in Bavaria, Germany until he was suspended on Monday March 14, 2010. In March 2010, Fr. Gerhard Gruber, who was at the time vicar general in Munich, assumed total responsibility for the decision to readmit Hullermann to pastoral care work, expressing regret and seeming to suggest that Cardinal Ratzinger had not been fully informed. According to sex abuse whistleblower Fr Tom Doyle, who was quoted in The New York Times, "Pope Benedict is a micromanager. He's the old style. Anything like that would have been brought to his attention. Tell the vicar general to find a better line. What he's trying to do, obviously, is protect the pope."[52]

Referring both to this case and also to reports of sex abuse cases linked to the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, directed for 30 years by the pope's brother, Mgr Georg Ratzinger, Vatican senior spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi argued at the weekend that the pope had been the victim of a media witch-hunt. "There have been those who have tried, with a certain aggressive persistence, in Regensburg and Munich, to look for elements to personally involve the Holy Father (i.e., the Pope) in the matter of abuses . . . It is clear that these attempts have failed."[52]

In February 2018, a 53 year old ex-priest from Deggendorf whose name and identity were kept anonymous was convicted in 108 child abuse cases and was given and eight and a half prison sentence in psychiatric detention.[53]

Diocese of Regensburg[edit]

Peter Kramer (priest) , parish priest of Riekofen, Bavaria, was convicted of sexual abuse of minors in 2003. The priest was already convicted to a jail sentence and damages for multiple abuse of a minor in 2000.[54]Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests has criticized Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for having reinstated the priest in parish work after he had been convicted in 2000 for child sexual abuse crimes. Mueller has apologized for his mishandling of the case.[55]

On January 7, 2015, German National Television (ARD) aired the documentary "Sünden an den Sängerknaben, Die Akte Regensburger Domspatzen" [2] about sexual and physical abuse in the world-famous boys' choir, as well as the reaction of the Diozese of Regensburg to the scandal. Former members of the choir revealed on-camera what they had experienced as choir boys at the hands of clergy and teachers. Furthermore, they related that the Diozese of Regensburg had - five years after the scandal became public - still not reacted to their appeals for recognition and compensation to date. The emotional interviews led to a wave of public sympathy for the victims and a controversial public discussion. The film also outlined the close connection between the Regensburger Domspatzen and the Vatican because of the two Ratzinger brothers - Georg Ratzinger as the head of the In a chronology published by the Diocese of Regensburg [3], the church confirms that mounting public pressure as a result of the documentary led to the decision to appoint an independent investigator to conduct a thorough investigation of abuse within the two boarding schools and the choir of the "Regensburger Domspatzen". Furthermore, the chronology by the Diocese of Regensburg specifies that the television documentary led to a reconsideration of three applications submitted by former choir boys. These applications had originally been declined, were reconsidered and then approved.

In 2016 Fritz Wallner, a former chair of the lay diocesan council in Regensburg, Germany, alleged in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit that Cardinal Müller "systematically" thwarted the investigation of abuse in the "Regensburger Domspatzen" boys' choir while he served as bishop of Regensburg. The choir was run from 1964 to 1994 by Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict XVI. Müller insisted that neither the church nor its bishops were responsible for abusers. In February 2012 he told the news agency dpa: "If a schoolteacher abuses a child, it is not the school nor the Ministry of Education that are to blame." Rather, he maintained, it is only the perpetrator who is to blame.[56] In 2016 a 12-member commission was created to address the history of abuse and cover-up in the boys' choir, which critics view as a long-overdue effort by the church to address a scandal that has been most troublesome to the Vatican in the last decade because it is associated with the brother of former Pope Benedict. Fritz Wallner has called for the church to purge anyone linked to Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who oversaw the handling of the allegations.[57]

In July 2017, allegations surfaced that there was "a high degree of plausibility" that at least 547 members of the diocese's prestigious Domspatzen choir were either physically abused, sexually abused, or both between the years 1945 and 1992.[48] Current Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer had already announced plans to offer victims compensation of between 5,000 and 20,000 euros ($5,730 US and $22,930) each by the end of 2017.[48] The report faulted Georg Ratzinger for "in particular for 'looking away' or for failing to intervene."[48] The report also stated that former Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller bears "clear responsibility for the strategic, organizational and communicative weaknesses" in the diocese's effort to investigate claims of past abuse when they surfaced.[48]

Archdiocese of Berlin[edit]

Canisius-Kolleg Berlin[edit]

In 2004 and 2005 two former students of the school told the headmaster of the school that they had been sexually abused by two of their former teachers. In December 2009 and January 2010 two other boys contacted the headmaster and claimed the same about the same teachers. The headmaster decided to write a letter to all former students in which he stated that he was deeply sorry for what happened. After receiving the letter several others of the former students contacted the headmaster and said that they - too - had been abused.

The names of the former students claiming to be sexually abused have been withheld from the public, but the public was told many of them were notable scientist or held political or economic positions of power. It was also revealed that some of the alumni, who had been abused decided to send their children to the Canisius-Kolleg.[58] One of the teachers has spoken out and said the allegations made against him were true, because he really had abused boys. The teachers might not be sued for what they did, because it seems that in most cases the time limit for pressing trial has passed, but the abused boys want them to apologize.[59]

Archdiocese of Freiburg[edit]

Kolleg Sankt Blasien[edit]

In 2010, Padre Wolfgang S admitted to several acts of sexual abuse of minors during his years as a teacher in Sankt Blasius from 1982 to 1984. Prior to that he had taught in another Jesuit college in Berlin (Canisius-Kolleg) where he had also molested children. The order in 2010 conceded that upon discovery, his superiors provided help him to emigrate to South America. Other cases of sexual abuse of minors in the Jesuit order have also been reported lately and are being investigated. As of February 2010, it seems that all cases have become time-barred.[60]

Wolfgang S., who currently lives in South America, claimed that he had informed his Jesuit superiors of his dark past in 1991.[61]

The German Society of Jesus apologized and asked the victims for forgiveness for what happened at the Canisius-Kolleg Berlin and the Kolleg St. Blasien.[62] The Vatican supported the apology.[63]

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.[64][65][66][67] Walsh had a previous conviction for computer indecency.[68]

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.[69][70] The Roman Catholic Church paid Robinson up to £800 per month despite knowing the allegations against him.[71]

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.[72][73]

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.[74] 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.[75]

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.[76]

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.[80][81]

Buckfast Abbey School[edit]

In 2007 two former monks from Buckfast Abbey were sentenced for sexually abusing boys.[78][79]

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.[82]

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.[83] 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[84]

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.[85]

Ealing Abbey, St Benedict's School[edit]

In 2009 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.[86]


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.[87]

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.[88] 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.[89] 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."[90]

Victims describe The McLellan Report into child sex abuse as a whitewash.[91] 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.[92] 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.[93] There was a culture of cover-up where words were not met with actions.[87][94]

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,[95] 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.[96] 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.[97]


Archdiocese of Cardiff[edit]


Several priests who abused children in the United States were Irish National, notably Patrick Colleary, Anthony O'Connell and Oliver O'Grady.

Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly[edit]

Diocese of Cloyne[edit]

In 2008, the Irish government referred two allegations of child sex abuse to the National Board for Child Protection, an independent supervisory body established by the Irish bishops. Bishop John Magee had failed to implement self-regulatory procedures agreed by the bishops of Ireland in 1996. Magee apologised to the victims after a report compiled by the Health Service Executive (HSE) found his diocese had put children at risk of harm through an "inability" to respond appropriately to abuse allegations.[101]

Diocese of Limerick[edit]

Archdiocese of Dublin[edit]

Father Paul McGennis, Dublin, Ireland. He abused M Collins when as a 13-year-old she was in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in 1961. Collins was later told that McGennis had admitted abusing children. However the Cardinal Archbishop of Dublin, Desmond Connell, refused "on legal advice" to supply his file on McGennis to the Irish police. McGennis was nevertheless convicted and gaoled. Collins subsequently received an apology from Cardinal Connell.

An unnamed woman going by the name of 'Irene Kelly' complains of continual physical and sexual abuse by nuns at a Dublin orphanage from the age of 6 to 11. She considers the abuse which happened during the 1960s, "cruelty beyond belief".[102] 'Kelly' also witnessed babies being treated cruelly.[103]

Diocese of Ferns[edit]

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 Roman Catholic Diocese of Ferns. The report revealed over one hundred cases of child sex abuse in the diocese, involving a number of clergymen, including Monsignor Micheál Ledwidth, the former head of the National Catholic seminary, Maynooth College.

Archdiocese of Tuam[edit]

An eight-year (1999–2007) enquiry and report by Doctor Elizabeth Healy and Doctor Kevin McCoy into the Brothers of Charity Congregation's "Holy Family School" in Galway, the major city of the archdiocese, and two other locations was made public in December 2007. 11 brothers and 7 other staff members were alleged to have abused 121 intellectually disabled children in residential care in the period 1965-1998.

Archdiocese of Armagh[edit]

Diocese of Raphoe[edit]

The current Bishop of Derry, Séamus Hegarty, was Bishop of the Diocese of Raphoe in 1982–1994, at a time when one of his priests, Father Eugene Greene, raped 26 young men.


  • It is difficult to ascertain the correct 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.[104]
  • The Italian lawyer Sergio Cavaliere, advocate for victims, alleged in April 2010 that there has been a cover up of clerical abuse in Italy and that there had been 130 legal cases brought against priests for abuse in the previous ten years reported in the press.[105][106]
  • Prior to 2001, all cases were handled privately within dioceses. In 2001 then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a letter to all bishops ordering all sex-abuse cases be transferred to the Vatican. He imposed total secrecy on the proceedings, with the penalty of excommunication for any violations.[104]
  • In May 2007, the Panorama documentary episode Sex Crimes and the Vatican was allowed to run on the state-run television station only with equal time for church officials.[104]

Archdiocese of Trento[edit]

Diocese of Bolzano-Brixen[edit]

In 2008, an Italian priest was condemned by an Italian court of appeal to seven and a half years in prison for the sexual abuse of a 9-year-old child. The abuse took place during a church organized summer camp. Damages in the amount of €700,000 were also levied.[107]

Archdiocese of Venice[edit]

Diocese of Verona[edit]

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.[108][109][110]


Martin Luther, who had spent time in Rome[111] said that Leo had vetoed a measure that cardinals should restrict the number of boys they kept for their pleasure, "otherwise it would have been spread throughout the world how openly and shamelessly the pope and the cardinals in Rome practice sodomy"; encouraging Germans not to spend time fighting fellow countrymen in defense of the papacy.[112]

Luther's accusations were disputed. In fact, in 1514 Leo X had issued the Bull Supernae dispositionis arbitrio which, inter alia, required cardinals to live "... soberly, chastely, and piously, abstaining not only from evil but also from every appearance of evil" and a contemporary and eyewitness at Leo's Court (Matteo Herculaneo), emphasized his belief that Leo was chaste all his life.[113]


84 allegations of child abuse have been made to the church from 1999 to 2010.[106]

Archdiocese of Malta[edit]

Father Anthony Mercieca, who was accused by former Florida Congressman Mark Foley of molesting him as a teenager, now lives in Malta.[114]


The abuse scandal in the Netherlands has affected several Dutch dioceses.

In 2012, press reports indicated that in the 1950s, officials in the Dutch Church took retribution against ten children who reported sexual abuse by having them surgically castrated. Due to the passage of time and loss of records, only one victim could be identified by name.[115][116]

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).[117][118]

In 2011 the Deetman Commission, acting on the 2010 request of the Dutch Episcopal Conference 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.[119]

Archdiocese of Utrecht[edit]

Diocese of Den Bosch[edit]

Father J. Ceelen, pastor of the parishes of Lieshout and of Mariahout (municipality of Laarbeek) quits his post after allegations of sexual abuse on 1 September 2005.[120]

Diocese of Roermond[edit]

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.[121]

Diocese of Rotterdam[edit]

  • 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.[122]
  • From 2008 until 2010, an Irish priest named Oliver O'Grady, sexually abused more than 20 boys and girls, at the Heilig Hartkerk of the Christus onze Verlosser-parish in Rotterdam. He used the pseudonym of Brother Francis and was recognised as the previously convicted child molester O'Grady by parishioners after seeing the Oscar-nominated television documentary Deliver Us from Evil.[123][124][125]


In February 2010 the 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.[126]


Territorial Prelature of Trondheim[edit]

Georg Müller SS.CC., a former Catholic Bishop of the Roman Catholic Territorial Prelature of Trondheim 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.[127][128]

As of April 2010 Norway's Catholic church had reported 18 pedophilia cases.[129]


During 2013 reports of a succession of child sex abuse scandals within the church, some of which reached the courts, and the poor response by the church, became a matter of public concern. Responding to criticism of the church President of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Jozef Michalik, said "Often that inappropriate approach or abuse is released when the child is looking for love. It clings, it seeks. It loses itself and also draws in that second person." This comment was heavily criticised, and Michalik apologised for it. The church resisted demands to pay compensation to victims.[130][131]

Archdiocese of Poznan[edit]

In March 2002 Archbishop Juliusz Paetz quit following accusations, which he denied, of sexually molesting young priests.[76]

Archdiocese of Warsaw[edit]

Diocese of Plock[edit]

In early 2007, allegations surfaced that former Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus was aware that several priests in his former diocese of Plock were sexually abusing minors.[132]


Archdiocese of Ljubljana[edit]

Franc Frantar was detained in 2006 [133] for sexual abuse of up to 16 minors. He was later sentenced [134] to three and a half years in prison. He initially escaped persecution by escaping to Malawi to work there as a missionary, but returned to Slovenia after an Interpol warrant was issued.


  • In Christmas of 2007 the Bishop of Tenerife, Bernardo Álvarez, caused an uproar in Spain by making statements that appeared to equate child molestation with homosexuality and blamed the victims of abuse. One such statement was "There are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what's more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you."[135]

Society of Jesus[edit]

The Jesuits have also been affected by abuse affairs in several of their schools and congregations in the United States and Germany. The same abusive teacher in Germany had been guilty of similar crimes in Jesuit schools in Chile and Spain.[136]


Diocese of Stockholm[edit]

One child (name and sex undisclosed) was sexually abused by a priest over several years in the late 1950s. When the child raised the issue at the time, the church protected the priest and kept the abuse quiet. 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. The abuse caused considerable suffering and lasting damage over the life of the victim.[137]

Sweden generally[edit]

Three other priests are confirmed abusers but a fourth suspected case is unconfirmed.[138]

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