Portugal church sex abuse study finds 512 alleged victims – Brandon Sun

LISBON, Portugal (AP) – A committee investigating historic child sex abuse in the Portuguese Catholic Church said Monday that 512 alleged victims have come forward.

Senior officials of the Portuguese Church previously claimed that only a small number of cases had been reported.

The independent committee set up by the Portuguese bishops a year earlier to study child abuse in the Catholic Church investigated the alleged cases from 1950. The panel submitted its final report on Monday. The Portuguese bishops are due to discuss the report next month.

The statute of limitations has expired on most of the alleged cases.

Pedro Strech, the psychiatrist who led the panel, said it is estimated that the true number of victims during this period is at least 4,415. He did not say how the extrapolation was done.

The panel is not publishing the names of the victims, the identities of the alleged abusers, or the locations where the abuse allegedly occurred.

However, its final report includes a separate – and confidential – annexure of all the names of church members reported to the committee which is being sent to the Portuguese bishops’ conference and the police.

The report noted that 77% of abusers were priests, with other perpetrators linked to church institutions.

It said 48% of those who came forward had spoken about the abuse for the first time. The report noted that most of the alleged victims were men, although 47% were women.

It said there were places in Portugal, such as some madrassas and religious institutions, which were “real blackspots” for abuse.

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