Abuse Wiki

Template:Expand list This page documents notable Roman Catholic sex abuse cases by country.



In 2009 several people came forward with accusations of sexual molestation against an Italian priest working in the country. The Church gave assurances of an investigation, but this has not taken place. However Kenyan police say they found no evidence and believe Sesana is innocent.[1]

In 2010 a young woman alleged that a Catholic priest had undertaken inappropriate sexual activity against her will, but the police & Church authorities had failed to follow up the allegations.[2]



  • In 2002 the Catholic Church apologized for sexual abuses, including adultery, homosexuality and child abuse by two hundred priests over the previous 20 years.[3]
  • In 2003 at least 34 priests were suspended in a sex abuse scandal involving sexual harassment of women. 20 were from a single diocese.[4]



Archdiocese of Vienna

In 1995 Hans Hermann Cardinal Groer stepped down as head of the Catholic Church in Austria following accusations of sexual misconduct. In 1998 he left the country. He remained a Cardinal.[5]


­There have been several abuse cases in Belgium.

Diocese of Antwerp

Former parish priest Bruno Vos of Nieuwmoer parish in Kalmthout was officially charged with rape of a minor by the Belgian judiciary. There are also allegations of possession of child pornography included in the charge.[6]


Archdiocese of Zagreb
  • Ivan Čuček convicted [7] in 2000 for sexual abuse of 37 young girls, sentenced to three years in prison, which was later reduced by Supreme Courtto [8] to one and a half years.
Archdiocese of Rijeka
  • Drago Ljubičić convicted in 2007 was Catholic priest on the isle of Rab sentenced to three years in prison for molesting five teenage boys. He will be the first Catholic priest to serve prison time for sexual abuse in Croatia.[9] When asked by Catholic press agency Glas Koncila (prior to scandal) why children avoid going to church he blamed 'strong influence of communism on island Rab'.[10]

Czech Republic

Archdiocese of Olomouc

In 2000 Fr. Frantisek Merta and Olomouc Archbishop Jan Graubner were charged after allegations were made by a theology student, Václav Novák, that Merta had sexually abused altar boys since 1995.


Seine et marne
  • Henri Lebras sentenced to ten years for the rape of a twelve-year-old boy between 1995 and 1998.[11]


In February 2010 Der Spiegel reported that more than 94 clerics and laymen have been suspected of sexual abuse since 1995, but only 30 of those suspects had actually been prosecuted because of legal time constraints on pursuing cases.[12]


Archdiocese of Dublin

Several priests who abused children in the United States were Irish Nationals, notably Patrick Colleary, Anthony O'Connell and Oliver O'Grady.

Diocese of Ferns

The Ferns Inquiry 2005 - On 22 October 2005 a government-commissioned report compiled by a former Irish Supreme Court judge delivered an indictment of the handling of clerical sex abuse in the Irish diocese of Ferns.


  • It is difficult to ascertain the actual statistics for clerical sexual abuse in Italy because the Italian Government has a treaty with the Vatican that guarantees areas of immunity to Vatican officials, including bishops and priests.[13]
  • Three former students have claimed abuse and 65 former students signed statements saying that they or other students were abused by Catholic priests when attending the Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, a Catholic school for deaf children in Verona, Italy. The abuse is alleged to have occurred from the 1950s to 1980s, and was reportedly conducted by 24 priests including the late bishop of Verona.[14]


  • 84 allegations of child abuse have been made to the church from 1999 to 2010.[15]
  • Fr. Anthony Mercieca, who was accused by former Florida Congressman Mark Foley of molesting him as a teenager, now lives in Malta.[16]


Cases of sexual abuse by religious members of the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands can since 1995 be notified to a central church institution, called Secretariaat Rooms-Katholiek Kerkgenootschap (SRRK).[17][18]

In 1993, Father H.H.M. Jansen is denounced for sexual abuse during his activities as military pastor and as a faculty member of the seminary of Rolduc.[19]

On 13 March 1993, bishop Philippe Bär quits his post as bishop of Rotterdam and Dutch military bishop after allegations of multiple homosexual abuse.[19]

On 14 May 1998 damages of € 56.800 were paid by the diocese of Rotterdam to the victim of sexual abuse by a diocesan priest in order to avoid civil prosecution.[20]

Father J. Ceelen, pastor of the parishes of Lieshout and of Mariahout (municipality of Laarbeek) quits his post after allegations of sexual abuse on 1 September 2005.[21]

In February 2010 Salesians were accused of sexual abuse in their juvenate Don Rua in 's-Heerenberg. Salesian bishop of Rotterdam van Luyn pleaded for a thorough investigation.[22]


Georg Müller, a former Catholic Bishop in Trondheim, Norway, has admitted to sexually abusing an altar boy in the 1980s when he served as a priest there. Müller, who retired as bishop in 2009, said there were no other victims.[23][24]


Archdiocese of Poznań

In March 2002 the Archbishop of Poznań, Juliusz Paetz, stepped down following accusations, which he denied, of sexually molesting young priests.[25]

Diocese of Płock

In early 2007 allegations surfaced that former Bishop Stanislaw Wielgus (later very briefly Archbishop of Warsaw) was aware that several priests in his former diocese of Płock were sexually abusing minors.[26]


Archdiocese of Ljubljana
  • Franc Frantar - detained in 2006[27] for sexual abuse of up to 16 minors. He was later sentenced[28] to three and a half years in prison. He initially escaped prosecution by escaping to Malawi to work there as a missionary, but returned to Slovenia after Interpol warrant was issued.


Diocese of Stockholm

One child was sexually abused by a priest several years in the late 1950s. When the child raised the issue at the time, the priest was protected and the abuse was kept quiet by the church. The victim finally reported the abuse to the Stockholm diocese in December 2005. The victim demanded a public apology from the church. In June 2007 Sweden's Catholic church made a public apology in two newspapers.[29]

Great Britain

There have been several cases of sex abuse in the United Kingdom including:

Passionist Congregation

  • In the 1990s, abuse by a Father Eugene Kennan (baptismal name John Joseph), a priest of the Passionist Order, originally from Liverpool, came to light. An extremely powerful man who had held high positions in the order, he had given retreats and counselled vulnerable girls over many decades, including those in care and approved schools in the 1960s. A man of great charisma, he was able to abuse girls in whom he inspired devotion. It was, however, the sexual abuse of a former novice nun that first brought the abuse to light, after which many women came forward with their own testimonies of his sexual abuse. One story he would tell the girls was that he had trained as a gynaecologist, which led to intimate physical examinations. In the late 1990s Father Eugene was relieved of his official duties and was investigated by the police, however his age and failing health saved him from prison. He died in 2002. The scandal was largely covered up by the superior of the Passionist Order, Father Nicholas Postlethwaite, who managed to keep it out of the English newspapers, though it was mentioned in the Irish press.
Benedictine Congregation
  • Buckfast Abbey School

In 2007 two former monks from Buckfast Abbey were sentenced for sexually abusing boys.[30][31]

  • Ealing Abbey / St Benedict's School

In 2009 a monk of Ealing Abbey and former headmaster of the junior department of its associated school, St Benedict's, was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing boys.[32]

  • Belmont Abbey / Belmont Abbey School

In 2004 former priest John Kinsey of Belmont Abbey, Herefordshire, was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court for 5 years for sexual assaults on schoolboys in the mid 1980s.[33][34]

North America


Archdiocese of St. John's

In the 1990s, criminal proceedings began against members of the Christian Brothers in Newfoundland.


Fr. Marcial Maciel (1920–2008) founded the Legion of Christ, a Catholic order of priests originating in Mexico. Nine former seminarians of his order accused Maciel of molestation.[35] One retracted his accusation, saying that it was a plot intended to discredit the Legion. Maciel maintained his innocence of the accusations.

United States

Archdiocese of Anchorage

In 2007, the Society of Jesus made a $50 million payout to over 100 Inuits who alleged that they had been sexually abused. The settlement did not require them to admit molesting Inuit children, but accusations involved 13 or 14 priests who allegedly molested these children for 30 years.[36] In 2008, the Diocese of Fairbanks, a co-defendant in the case, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming inability to pay the 140 plaintiffs filing claims against the diocese for alleged sexual abuse by priests or church workers during this period.[37][38][39]

Archdiocese of Boston

Allegations of sexual misconduct by priests of the Archdiocese of Boston, and following revelations of a cover-up by the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, became known in 2004, causing Roman Catholics in other dioceses of the United States to investigate similar situations. Cardinal Law's actions prompted public scrutiny of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the steps taken in response to past and current allegations of sexual misconduct by priests. The events in the Archdiocese of Boston became a national scandal.

Archdiocese of Chicago

Daniel McCormack, a self-confessed sexually abusive priest was sentenced to five years in prison for abusing five boys (8–12 years) in 2001.[40]

Diocese of Crookston

Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul was charged with molesting two teenage girls at a Catholic church in Greenbush, Minnesota, a small rural town near the Canadian border. The abuse occurred in 2004, and charges were filed in 2006 and amended in 2007.[41] Without facing legal punishment, Jevapaul returned to his home diocese in Ootacamund, India, where today he works in the church’s diocesan office. A Roseau County, Minnesota attorney is seeking to extradite the priest from India in a criminal case involving one of the girls.[42] The Archbishop of Madras, India (Madras is now called “Chennai”) has asked Jeyapaul to return to the US to face the charges.[43] Jevapaul has said that he will not fight extradition if the US seeks it.[44]

Diocese of Davenport

On October 10, 2006, the Diocese of Davenport filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[45]

Archdiocese of Denver

In July 2008 the Archdiocese of Denver paid a settlement of $5.5 million dollars to 18 claims of alleged sexual abuse perpetrated by two clerics between the years of 1954 and 1981.[46]

Archdiocese of Dubuque

In 2006 the Archdiocese settled a number of claims of sexual abuse, and the Archbishop offered a personal apology.[47]

Diocese of Fall River

Father James Porter was a Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of molesting 28 children;[48] He admitted sexually abusing at least 100 of both sexes over a period of 30 years, starting in the 1960s.[49] Bishop Sean O'Malley settled 101 abuse claims and initiated a zero-tolerance policy against sexual abuse. He also instituted one of the first comprehensive sexual abuse policies in the Roman Catholic Church.[50]

Diocese of Honolulu

Reverend Joseph Bukoski, III, SS.CC., Honolulu, Hawaii, a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary was canonically removed in 2003 as the pastor of Maria Lanakila Catholic Church in Lahaina by Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo for allegations relating to sexual improprieties some 30 years earlier. Fr. Bukoski issued a written public apology to his victim on November 12, 2005.

Reverend Mr. James "Ron" Gonsalves, Wailuku, Hawaii, Gonsalves the administrator of Saint Ann Roman Catholic Church in Waihee, Maui, pleaded guilty on May 17, 2006 to several counts of sexual assault on a 12-year-old male. Bishop Clarence Richard Silva has permanently withdrawn his faculties and has initiated laicization proceedings against Deacon Gonsalves with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Archdiocese of Los Angeles

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay out 60 million dollars to settle 45 lawsuits it still faces over 450 other pending cases. According to the Associated Press, 22 priests were involved in the settlement with cases going back as far as the 1930s.[51] 20 million dollars of this was paid by the insurers of the archdiocese. The main administrative office of the archdiocese is due to be sold to cover the cost of these and future law suits. The archdiocese will settle about 500 cases for about $600 million.[52]

Diocese of Memphis

The Diocese of Memphis reached a $2 million settlement with a man who was abused as a boy by Father Juan Carlos Duran, a priest with a history of sexual misconduct with juveniles in St. Louis, Panama, and Bolivia.[53]

Archdiocese of Miami

Since 1966, the Archdiocese of Miami Insurance Programs have paid $26.1 million in settlement, legal, and counseling costs associated with sexual misconduct allegations made by minors involving priests, laity and religious brothers and sisters.[54]

Archdiocese of Milwaukee

A 2003 report on the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee revealed that allegations of sexually assaulting minors had been made against 58 ordained men.[citation needed] By early 2009, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee had spent approximately $26.5 million in attorney fees and settlements. Under Archbishop Timothy Dolan the archdiocese was able to avoid bankruptcy from lawsuits.[55]

A Wisconsin priest, the Rev. Lawrence C Murphy, who taught at the former St. John School for the Deaf in the Milwaukee suburb of St. Francis, Wisconsin from 1950 to 1974, allegedly molested more than 200 deaf boys. Several U.S. bishops warned the Vatican that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church. Murphy was moved by then Milwaukee Archbishop William E Cousins to Superior, Wisconsin, a small city near Lake Superior, where he spent his final 24 years working with children in parishes, schools and a juvenile detention center. He died in 1998. As of March 2010, there were four outstanding lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the case.[56][57]

Diocese of Oakland

In 1981, the former Rev. Stephen Kiesle was convicted for tying up and molesting two boys in a California church rectory.[58] From 1981 to 1985, Bishop John Stephen Cummins, who oversaw Kiesle, contacted the Vatican about defrocking him. Then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, responded by letter that the case needed more time, as it was "necessary to consider the good of the Universal Church" and "the detriment that granting the dispensation" could provoke among the faithful. In 1987, the Vatican defrocked Kiesle. The letter was widely regarded as evidence of Ratzinger's role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests.[59][60] Vatican officials responded that that interpretation rested on a misreading of the letter, in which the issue was not whether Kiesle should be defrocked but whether he should be granted the dispensation he had requested from the obligation of chastity. By refusing to grant such a dispensation right away in the Kiesle case, Ratzinger was actually being tough with an abuser, not lax.[61][62]

Archdiocese of Omaha

During his tenure as the Bishop of Helen, Curtiss chose to reassign a priest who had been accused of pedophilia in 1959, later admitting that he had not properly examined the church's personnel file on the individual concerned. Curtis faced similar criticism in 2001 in regard to a priest accused of accessing child pornography. Curtis, it was alleged, had failed to bring the case to the attention of the authorities, and had chosen to send the priest for counseling and to reassign the priest, removing him from his high-school teaching position but reassigning him to a middle-school.[63]

Diocese of Orange, California

On January 3, 2005 Bishop Tod Brown of the Diocese of Orange apologized to 87 alleged victims of sexual abuse and announced a settlement of $100 million following two years of mediation.

Diocese of Palm Beach

Joseph Keith Symons resigned as ordinary in 1998 after admitting he molested five boys while he was a pastor.[64]

Diocese of Peoria

Coadjutor Bishop John J. Myers of Peoria was among the two-thirds of sitting bishops and acting diocese administrators that the Dallas Morning News found had allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to continue working.[65]

In 2005, Rev. Francis Engels pleaded guilty to molesting a Peoria altar boy on trips to Milwaukee in the early 1980s.[66]

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

According to a 2005 investigation, while serving as assistant vicar for administration in 1996, Bishop Cistone was involved with silencing a nun who tried to alert parishioners at St. Gabriel parish about abuse by a priest. According to the report, there were several other instances of priest sexual abuse that Cistone was complicit in covering up.[67]

Diocese of Phoenix

On November 21, 2005, Monsignor Dale Fushek of the Diocese of Phoenix was arrested and charged with 10 criminal misdemeanor counts related to alleged inappropriate sexual contact with teens and young adults.[68]

Archdiocese of Portland

The Archdiocese of Portland filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on July 6, 2004, hours before two abuse trials were set to begin.[citation needed] Portland became the first Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy. An open letter to the archdiocese's parishioners explained the archbishop's motivation.

Archdiocese of San Antonio

John Salazar was sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting a 18-year-old parishioner.[69]

Diocese of San Diego

On February 27, 2007, the Diocese of San Diego filed for Chapter 11 protection, hours before the first of about 150 lawsuits was due to be heard.[citation needed]

Diocese of Savannah

In October, 2009, the diocese of Savannah paid $4.24 million to settle a lawsuit which alleged that Lessard allowed a priest named Wayland Brown to work in the diocese when Lessard knew that Brown was a serial child molester who posed a danger to children.[70]

Diocese of Spokane

Under Bishop William S. Skylstad the Diocese of Spokane declared bankruptcy in December 2004. As part of its bankruptcy, the diocese has agreed to pay at least $48 million as compensation. This payout has to be agreed to by the victims and a judge before it will be made. According to federal bankruptcy judge, Gregg W. Zive, money for the settlement would come from insurance companies, the sale of church property, contributions from Catholic groups and from the diocese's parishes.[71]

Diocese of Stockton

Fr. Oliver O'Grady molested multiple children in Stockton.[72] The 2006 documentary Deliver Us From Evil is based on accusations that Bishop Roger Mahony knew that Oliver O'Grady was an active pedophile.[73]

Diocese of Tucson

The Diocese of Tucson filed for bankruptcy in September, 2004. It reached an t reement with plaintiffs, which the bankruptcy judge approved on June 11, 2005, specifying terms that included allowing the diocese reorganization to continue in return for a $22.2 million settlement.[citation needed]



Archdiocese of Sydney
  • Ross Murrin - Catholic brother plead guilty to sexually abusing eight male students.[74]
Archdiocese of Melbourne

There were several cases of sexual abuse in the Melbourne archdiocese.

  • Michael Charles Glennon - sentenced to at least 15 years in jail for sexually abusing four Aboriginal boys between 1984 and 1991[75]
  • Wilfred James Baker - sentenced to four years in prison (parole after 2 years) for 16 counts of indecent assault and one of gross indecency, involving eight boys, aged 10 to 13, over a 20-year period between 1960 and 1979.[76]
  • David Daniel - sentenced to six years jail, with parole after 4.5 years, for molesting four boys, a girl and an adult male.[77]
  • Rex Elmer - abuser sentenced in 1998 to five years jail (with parole after 3 years 4 months) for molesting 12 boys at St Vincent's orphanage in South Melbourne.[78]
  • Terence Goodall, convicted of indecent assault in 2006 for a crime committed in 1982.
  • Paul Pavlou, convicted on 29 June 2009 of committing an indecent act with a child under 16 and of being knowingly in possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to an 18 month jail sentence suspended for 24 months and to a two year community based order. He will be registered on the Sex Offenders Register for 15 years. These offences occurred in 2005-2006 while he was the priest at Healesville in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.[79]

New Zealand

The abuse scandal in Christchurch is an important chapter in the clerical abuse affairs in New Zealand.

South America


  • Julio Grassi was found guilty (by a three-judge panel of the Criminal Court Oral 1 Morón) of one count of sexual abuse and one count of corrupting a minor in the “Happy Children’s Foundation”.[80]
Archdiocese of Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz

Allegations of sexual abuse on 47 young seminarists surfaced in 1994.[81]


Diocese of Anápolis
  • In 2005 Brazilian priests, Fr. Tarcísio Tadeu Spricigo and Fr. Geraldo da Consolação Machado were convicted of child molestation while Fr. Felix Barbosa Carreiro was arrested and charged with child sexual abuse in the northeastern state of Maranhão after police seized him in a hotel room with four teenage boys.[82][83]
Archdiocese of Penedo
  • In 2010 Authorities in Brazil began an investigation into three priests after a video allegedly showing a priest sexually abusing an altar boy was broadcast on the SBT television station.[84]


Archdiocese of Santiago
  • José Andrés Aguirre Ovalle, aka "Cura Tato", was found guilty of nine sexual abuse charges by the highest court of this country. In 2004 Aguirre was sentenced to 12 years in jail. At the beginning of this trial, the Catholic Church was sentenced to pay 50 million in damages to the victims, but then this sentence was revoked by the supreme court.[85]
  • Ricardo Muñoz Quinteros, priest of Melipilla, was charged in 2010 with eight cases of sexually abusing minors, including his own daughter. Also, is investigated for producing pronografic material involving children.[86]
  • In 2010, the Catholic Church claimed to be conducting an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse allegedly committed by Fr. Fernando Karadima, after four people came forward with allegations of abuse.[87]
Diocese of Valparaíso
  • Eduardo Olivares Martínez, was found guilty of a five sexual abuse against underprivileged minors. In 2006 was sentenced to 3 years in jail and to pay 15 million pesos in damages.[88]
  • In 2010, Juan Henríquez Zapata was indicted for using minors for sex services.[89]
Diocese of Rancagua
  • Jorge Galaz Espinoza, former Director of El Pequeño Cottolengo, was found guilty of repeated violations against two mentally disabled minors. In 2005 Galaz was sentenced to 15 years in jail.[90]
Diocese of Punta Arenas
  • Jaime Low Cabezas, was found guilty of a sexual abuse against a 15 year-old minor. In 2009 Low was sentenced to 3 years in jail.[91]
  • Víctor Hugo Carrera, was found guilty of a sexual abuse against one underprivileged minor. In 2005 Carrera was sentenced to 541 days in jail and to pay 2 million pesos in damages to the family of the victim. The case involved the bishop of the diocese, who was accused of protecting Carrera and facilitating his escape to Bolivia, where he lived for two years.[92]


In 2007, Daniel Bernardo Beltrán Murguía Ward, a 42 year-old SCV consecrated layman was found by the National Police in a hostel in Cercado de Lima with a 12 year-old boy, of whom he was taking sexually explicit pictures. The boy was initially lured by Murguía Ward in Miraflores, where he was given Pokémon figures in exchange for photos of his intimate parts. When Murguía Ward was caught, he had paid the boy 20 soles ($7 USD) for his services in the hostel. The police have reported that pictures of two other boys were also found on Murguía Ward's camera and that the boy has claimed he received oral sex from Murguía Ward. These charges have been denied by the accused. Murguía Ward has since been removed from the SCV for his alleged misconduct.[93][94][95]

See also

  • Abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Crimen sollicitationis
  • Religious abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Spiritual abuse


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