New Zealand investigation uncovers thousands of reports of abuse by priests

Reports of abuse have been filed against hundreds of clerical members and others in the Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand dating back to the 1950s, according to figures released this week to a commission royal commission, grasped for the first time the prevalence of allegations of abuse in the church there.

Between 1950 and 2021, there were 1,680 allegations of abuse reported against clerics in the diocese and members of Catholic religious orders or associations, according to data from Te Ropu Tautoko, a group that coordinates the commission – New Zealand’s highest form of investigation – and the Catholic Church.

“Serious data” uncovered the scale of abuse within the Catholic Church, said Katherine Anderson, an attorney who supported the commission, said in a statement. “The research is astounding, and the heartbreaking reality is that helpless and vulnerable children and adults have to sit behind these facts and numbers.”

According to the figures, charges have been filed against 14 per cent of all clerics in the diocese in New Zealand, many of them from the 1960s to 1980s, with the majority of cases involving children. children in educational or residential institutions under church supervision. More than half of reported abuses involved sexual harm or other physical, emotional or psychological abuses. Others involved in the non-fulfilment of the complaint.

However, a victim support network called the data “the tip of a big iceberg”.

“We have no mechanism in place to verify the accuracy of those numbers. We cannot confirm what was put in or out,” said Christopher Longhurst, national leader of the Priestly Abuse Survivors Network. Most of the group’s members, he said, had not formally reported their abuse. According to the team’s own estimates, for each complaint received, between six and ten people had a similar experience but never made a complaint.

An official of the Catholic Church speak Statistics on abuse are “horrific and something that we are deeply ashamed of.” The official, Cardinal John Dew, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of New Zealand, added, “I certainly hope that events like this will help us to come to terms with sad reality. The Church will learn from this and affirm its commitment to safety. “

In 1,296 cases, whistleblowers named a person when reporting abuses. In one case, 74 allegations of abuse were brought against the same person, the figures said. About 14 percent of all recorded reports involved the Marylands Special Schools and the Hebron Trust, two Christchurch campuses for young people with disabilities or at risk.

The investigation comes as countries around the world are investigating allegations of sexual abuse by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church. An independent commission in France last year It is estimated that more than 200,000 minors more than seven decades have been sexually abused and in many cases have been silent when they talk about their experience. In Australia, a similar commission in 2017 uncovered an epidemic of child sex abuse and urged Roman Catholic officials to abolish mandatory celibacy for priests.

The work of the New Zealand commission, which began in 2018, will continue with a public hearing, scheduled to begin next week, will hear reports from people who say they have been abused in the care of the Catholic Church. The commission is expected to provide a full report on the abuses next year.

Two brothers of the Catholic Church, Rodger Moloney and Bernard McGrath, were found guilty of child abuse at the Marylands Special School and the Hebron Trust. New Zealand investigation uncovers thousands of reports of abuse by priests

Fry Electronics Team

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