Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Spain’s Catholic Church finds hundreds of alleged child abusers over eight decades

Spain’s Catholic Church finds hundreds of alleged child abusers over eight decades
A penitent of the brotherhood "Los Dolores" holds a holy book before taking part in the procession on Holy Monday on April 03, 2023 in Granada, Spain. In the last week of Lent, prior to Easter, cities and towns across Spain feature Catholic groups performing processional tributes to the Passion of Jesus Christ. (Photo by Carlos Gil Andreu/Getty Images)

An investigation by the Spanish Catholic Church into child sexual abuse by members of the clergy and non-clerical staff has so far identified 728 alleged abusers and 927 victims since the 1940s, according to its first report.

“We acknowledge the harm caused,” said Jose Gabriel Vera, the spokesman for the Spanish Bishops’ Conference. “We want to help all victims…to accompany them in their healing.”

The issue came under a spotlight in Spain in 2021 after El Pais newspaper reported more than 1,200 alleged cases, years after sexual abuse scandals had rocked the Church in countries such as the U.S., Ireland and France.

Several inquiries have been launched, including one led by the country’s ombudsman, and the Church’s own internal investigation.

“We want to know what went wrong in the selection of candidates for the priesthood, what went wrong during their training…what has led a person who decided to give himself to God, to give himself to sexual abuse,” Vera said.

The report, which compiled victims’ testimonies and is not a proof of guilt or innocence, said more than 99% of the alleged perpetrators were male and that half of the abusers were clerics. Most of the recorded cases happened in the 1960s-1980s.

According to the victims – most of them male – more than 63% of the alleged abusers have died.

Last year, the office of Spain’s national prosecutor wrote in a letter to the ombudsman that the Church’s internal investigation was “partial” and “of little use”.

 

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Miguel GutierrezEditing by Andrei Khalip and Sriraj Kalluvila)

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.