Oct 28, 2023 at 12:01 p.m
More than 200,000 children have been victims of sexual abuse in the Spanish Catholic Church. An independent commission led by the Spanish ombudsman announced this on Saturday.
The ombudsman speaks of a “devastating impact” on the victims. He is also critical of the way the church tried to cover up or deny incidents. “What happened was possible because of that silence,” he says.
The 700-page study shows that 0.6 percent of adults in Spain experienced sexual abuse as children by clergy of the Catholic Church. That amounts to approximately 200,000 people.
The ombudsman said the numbers should be treated cautiously. The research also included statements from at least 487 people who experienced emotional damage due to the abuse. There are also people who have committed suicide. The ombudsman makes a recommendation to compensate victims of abuse.
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‘Lack of interest’ in the Catholic Church
Last year, the Spanish Congress called for an investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It did this in response to publications in the Spanish newspaper El Pais in 2018, which revealed that at least a thousand cases of abuse were known.
The ombudsman said on Friday that the Spanish Catholic Church would only cooperate to a certain extent with the investigation. He emphasized the lack of interest among the church. The committee also encountered hostility from some bishops.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the investigation a “milestone” in Spanish democracy. “We are a better country because the reality that everyone knew for years but no one dared to talk about has been exposed.”
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