Independent report declares child sexual abuse a ‘serious problem’ within Spain’s Catholic church after calculating at least 2,056 victims

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH in Spain made public on Thursday an independent report on sexual abuse in the Church prepared by solicitor Javier Cremades and his law firm.

The study was commissioned nearly two years ago in the wake of criticism that the Church was covering up sex assault cases and was done in parallel to a government inquiry led by the national ombudsman.

The Cremades report concludes that ‘the sexual abuse committed against minors has caused pain and shame in all its members’ and ‘is a grave danger in the life of the Church because of the height of the mission entrusted to her and which is gravely undermined’.

The findings were sent in a digital format last Friday and a paper copy was received by the Episcopal Conference on Wednesday.

The document was handed over by Javier Cremades to Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, the Archbishop of Barcelona.

REPORT DELIVERED(Episcopal Conference image)

The Church limited itself to saying that it was already studying it and that it would incorporate the contents that it considered relevant to the work being carried out by the Episcopal Conference itself.

The study collected ‘a total of 1,383 complaints, with the number of perpetrators being undetermined’, but it has identified ‘a minimum of 2,056 victims’.

The report says that the Church has ‘registered’ a total of 806 cases of abuse and goes on to analyse their veracity.

It considers 205 cases to be ‘proven’ and points out that there are 70 ‘unproven but plausible cases’. At the same time, it adds that there are 280 ‘unproven cases’ and that there are 75 cases pending resolution.

The Cremades report notes that sexual abuse ‘is considered a sin and a crime and should be treated as such’.

“The realisation of its existence has sparked an unprecedented movement in the Church in three directions,” it adds.

“First of all, to know the reality of the abuses and the damage caused to so many people for decades. Second, to repair the damage caused to the victims, as far as possible. And, thirdly, the establishment of the necessary measures so that these abuses cannot continue to take place.”

The Cremades report points out that ‘the reality of around a thousand cases of abuse committed in ecclesial spheres has become known’ but stresses that ‘they took place too long ago for them to have been able to come to light or that, directly, some victims do not want to tell their case’.

Javier Cremades stresses that ‘the reality of sexual abuse against minors is not a problem exclusive to the Church’.

“We are facing one of the most serious problems facing our society and which, sadly today, is still hidden,” he commented.

He added that in the case of the Church, these episodes ‘have produced pain and shame in all its members’ and that this report ‘will continue to collect data, documents, reports and conclusions’, which will make it a ‘living’ document.

“What has been presented so far is already a light in the dark world of child sexual abuse, but there will always be work to be done,” the study concludes.


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