Catholic Church in Portugal to Pay Sexual Abuse Victims

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.12 - 2024 8:18 AM CET

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Catholic Church in Portugal has committed to financially compensating victims of child sexual abuse by its priests.

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The Catholic Church in Portugal has committed to providing financial compensation to victims of child sexual abuse by its priests, a decision announced on April 11, as reported by Reuters.

Unanimous Decision for Compensation

José Ornelas, the head of the Episcopal Conference of Portugal (CEP), revealed that the organization's assembly had unanimously agreed to offer compensation.

Victims who suffered abuse as children by Catholic priests are eligible to apply for compensation from June to December 2024.

So far, 21 individuals have approached the Church in Portugal seeking compensation.

A Long History of Abuse

The CEP commission will determine the compensation amounts on a case-by-case basis.

While specific criteria for assessment have not yet been finalized, Ornelas noted that the severity of the cases would play a crucial role in the decision-making process. Importantly, compensation will also be extended to victims of deceased Catholic priests, ensuring that justice is served posthumously.

This decision follows a report published in February 2023, which found that at least 4,815 children had been sexually abused by members of the Portuguese Catholic Church, predominantly priests, over the past 70 years.

The report's authors cautioned that their findings represented just the "tip of the iceberg," indicating a potentially much larger scale of abuse.

It also revealed that more than 100 priests suspected of sexual abuse were still active in church roles.

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