Church sexual abuse panel uncovers more than 200 cases

Lisbon, Portugal — A general committee investigating historic child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church of Portugal said Thursday that it received complaints from 214 people during the first month of work.

The allegations are from people born between 1933 and 2006, saying that psychological distress has been kept secret for decades, says the Church’s Independent Committee for Child Abuse Studies. I did.

In a statement, the Commission said, “This suffering is associated with feelings of shame, fear, guilt, and self-exclusion, strengthening the notion of life in which the feeling of being on the sidelines is always present. “.

Two years ago, Portuguese church officials said authorities had investigated only about 12 allegations of sexual abuse involving Portuguese priests since 2001.

A six-member committee consisting of a psychiatrist, a former Supreme Court judge, and a social worker promises anonymity to all who come forward. Work officially started on January 1st.

The Commission, which reports to the Portuguese Episcopal Conference at the end of the year, states that its mission is not to initiate a formal investigation, but to investigate what kind of child sexual abuse has occurred.

Many of the allegations suggest that other children were likely victims of the same abuse, the statement said.

Witness statements were received online and alleged victims were received by filling out a form on the Commission’s website or by telephone or face-to-face interview.

According to the Commission, allegations have been filed from all over the country, as well as from Portuguese who currently live in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg and Switzerland, where there is a large Portuguese immigrant community.

Since most statements were received online, the Commission is stepping up efforts to reach people in developing regions of the country who may not be accustomed to using technology.

It is, among other things, to disseminate information with the help of charities, citizenships, and parish councils.

Barry Hatton

Associated Press


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