Portuguese commission has received 326 testimonies into church abuse since January

Spam Chronicles [Walnut Creek, CA]

May 10, 2022

By Ashley Cornell

The Portuguese commission investigating the sexual abuse of minors within the Catholic Church has already received 326 testimonies on this type of case since it began work last January.

It is the latest tally of the commission, which includes more men than women, from all regions of the country, all ages and school levels and all types of abuse, as revealed today by a member of the group, the sociologist Ana Nonnen von Almeida.

During a conference organized by the Commission in Lisbon and with the participation of international experts, Nunes de Almeida explained that, in addition to these 326 direct testimonies, “there are other people who say that they have been victims of abuse”, so that the number amounts to ” many, many hundreds”.

The commission announced in April in its first three months of work that it had confirmed 290 cases of abuse within the church, 16 of which had not yet been ordered and referred to the judiciary.

The group’s coordinator, child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht, reported Tuesday that they will be referring new cases to prosecutors “soon”.

The independent commission set up by the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference has conducted interviews with the bishops of the Portuguese dioceses, which are progressing “at a good pace”.

A month ago, Strecht explained that some of the bishops had not yet responded to requests to meet with them, but this Tuesday he specified that it was a question of the calendar and that no one had refused to answer .

“Really and without a doubt, these interviews have already been conducted or are on the agenda. There is no lack of cooperation for anyone,” he assured.

The Portuguese Church has also agreed to open the historical archives of the dioceses to search for possible recorded cases of child abuse, which will be investigated by a team of archivists and historians.

This is the first large-scale investigation into abuse in the Church to be conducted in Portugal, where more than 80% of the population profess Catholicism.