Sex abuse in the Catholic Church is a pervasive, rampant, and longstanding problem. The Boston Globe uncovered a pattern of sexual abuse of minors in the church over 15 years ago, in 2002, and even then, the issue had been prevalent for years. Even as early as the 1940s, a religious order was founded to help treat priests who struggled with sexual misconduct.
Today, sexual abuse of minors, mostly young boys, has become a permeating, extensive, and horrifying issue. It is of critical importance that people begin speaking up and taking action to protect children, and that the Catholic Church implement serious reforms. Powerful organizations like the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, the LDS Church and others must be held accountable.
We Must Rise Up, Speak Up, and Protect the Children
In August of 2018, a grand-jury report was released that highlighted the sexual abuse of children, committed by clergy members, in Pennsylvania’s Catholic Church. The report was harrowing, to say the least: more than 300 “predator priests” were accused of preying on more than 1,000 victims over the course of the past few decades.
The stories detailed in the report are hard to read, and include accounts of priests who asked a young boy to pose in sexual positions without any clothing, explaining that the position made the boy more “consistent with that of Christ in a loincloth,” as reported by the Daily Beast. How despicable. Other stories include charges of inappropriate sexual touching and molestation, oral sex with young children, molestation, and rape.
Church Covers Up Sex Abuse Scandals
Perhaps the most horrifying element of the many sex abuse stories that have been released related to clergy and young children is not merely that the sex abuse occurred, but that the Church took such an active part in the cover-up. According to an attorney cited in the same article linked to above, the cycle consisted of abuse, denial, and then covering up the story. Church officials tried to dissuade affected members from going to the police, and often would simply reassign clergy members to new parishes rather than defrocking them. Indeed, there are reports that the Church even tried to cover up the cover-up, attempting to keep the Pennsylvania report from ever being released.
Church Members Begin to Turn Away from the Catholic Church
As more and more sex abuse stories involving the Catholic Church are released, and more information about secrecy and coverups come to light, more Americans than ever before are leaving the Church. In fact, according to an article published in USA Today, nearly 40 percent of Catholics are considering leaving the Catholic Church, because of the sex abuse crisis and the way the church has mishandled it.
The Time to Speak Up, Hold Powerful Organizations Accountable, and Protect Our Children Is Now
The culture of sex abuse within the Catholic Church is shocking. Reform should be demanded, and the Church should openly and promptly comply with all investigations. What’s more, those who have been affected by seemingly countless sexual abuse incidents deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They deserve to see accountability for the wrongdoings committed against them. They deserve to be compensated for the terrible trauma and harm that has been inflicted on them.
At the offices of the Johnston Law Firm, our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to fight for you and your family if you or your child has been a victim of sex abuse. Call our law firm today for a free consultation and to learn more about your rights.