Sexual Abuse in the Clergy: How the Past Cannot Be Wiped Away

Space Coast Daily [Brevard County, FL]

January 2, 2022

According to the latest reports, there were approximately 216,000 victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy in the French Catholic Church between 1950 and 2020.

Since 1950, ‘nearly 200,000 youngsters’ have been sexually molested by French clergy by ‘thousands of paedophiles in the French Catholic Church. The Catholic bishops of Canada apologise for the abuse of Indigenous children. Data on sex abuse in Poland’s Catholic Church is decades behind where it should be.

Sex abuse within the clergy of the world is rampant and has been for decades, and throughout this article, we’re going to dive into the facts to detail the full extent of what’s been going on.

United States of America

Starting with the US, The Boston Globe reported in 2002 on the widespread sexual abuse of children in the Boston diocese and the Catholic hierarchy’s efforts to conceal it. The newspaper’s investigation was the subject of the Academy Award-winning film ‘Spotlight’.

According to lawyers, victims of priests have filed over 11,000 complaints in the United States. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid out in out-of-court settlements by dioceses. Victims’ groups claim that the reimbursements help the church to avoid prosecution.

In 2018, an investigation revealed the church’s systematic abuse cover-up by “more than 300 predator priests.” More than 1,000 children were named as victims. Cardinal Donald Wuerl resigned; accused of a cover-up.

In a first for the church, Pope Francis defrocked former American cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2019.

Since then, other dioceses have opened their files, showing that hundreds of priests have been accused of abusing minors.


Following a succession of scandals, Australia’s government established a Royal Commission, a high-level investigation into institutional child sexual abuse, in 2013.

According to the inquiry, most of the abuse occurred in churches, with 7% of Catholic priests in Australia accused of assaulting minors between 1950 and 2010. According to the report, claims are practically never investigated.

It discovered that the Church had received reports of 4,444 alleged incidences of child sexual assault. More than 15% of priests in some dioceses were involved in sexual abuse.

Even Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s former finance chief, was found guilty in 2018 of sexually abusing choirboys in the 1990s, testified before the inquiry. He even served as Pope Francis’ anti-corruption enforcer, was released from prison in 2020 after his conviction was overturned.


A report conducted by the German Bishops’ Conference in 2018 uncovered widespread sexual abuse by German clergy.

Between 1946 and 2014, 1,670 clerics sexually assaulted 3,677 youngsters, predominantly boys under the age of 13, according to the report, which also stated that this figure was likely certainly underestimated. The majority of the culprits have gone unpunished, and compensation is granted on a case-by-case basis, with little transparency.


Large-scale sex crimes have been accused at Ireland’s Catholic institutions for decades, with nearly 15,000 child victims estimated between 1970 and 1990. Several bishops and priests who were accused of covering up child sexual abuse have been sentenced to prison.

Between the 1930s and the 1970s, the official Ryan Commission report uncovered rampant abuse of children in Catholic-run facilities.

According to the report, church-run orphanages and industrial schools were sites of terror, neglect, and widespread sexual abuse. Between 1975 and 2004, the Church “obsessively” covered abuse, according to the Murphy inquiry investigating the Dublin archdiocese.

After a highly negative report into the Cloyne diocese was released in 2011, the Vatican recalled its ambassador after the then-Irish prime minister accused it of hindering the investigations of a sex crime attorney into clergy sexual abuse.


As you can see, sexual abuse is widespread, and reading this may even come as a bit of shock when you realise just how rampant it really is. If you find you have been affected by such actions, it’s highly recommended you speak to someone, such as a professional psychologist or a legal team, for advice on how you can proceed.

These are facts that will not be forgotten. They are now history.