Cases of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, nuns and members of religious orders in the 20th and 21st centuries have led to many allegations, investigations, trials and convictions as well as revelations about decades of attempts by Church officials to cover up reported incidents. The abused include mostly boys but also girls, some as young as three years old, with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14. Criminal cases for the most part do not cover sexual harassment of adults. The accusations began to receive isolated, sporadic publicity from the late 1980s. Many of these involved cases in which a figure was accused of decades of abuse; such allegations were frequently made by adults or older youths years after the abuse occurred. Cases have also been brought against members of t

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  • Cases of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, nuns and members of religious orders in the 20th and 21st centuries have led to many allegations, investigations, trials and convictions as well as revelations about decades of attempts by Church officials to cover up reported incidents. The abused include mostly boys but also girls, some as young as three years old, with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14. Criminal cases for the most part do not cover sexual harassment of adults. The accusations began to receive isolated, sporadic publicity from the late 1980s. Many of these involved cases in which a figure was accused of decades of abuse; such allegations were frequently made by adults or older youths years after the abuse occurred. Cases have also been brought against members of the Catholic hierarchy who covered up sex abuse allegations and moved abusive priests to other parishes, where abuse continued. By the 1990s, the cases began to receive significant media and public attention in some countries, especially in Canada, the United States, Australia and, through a series of television documentaries such as Suffer The Children (UTV, 1994), Ireland. In 2002, a critical investigation by The Boston Globe led to widespread media coverage of the issue in the United States. Widespread abuse has been exposed in Europe, Australia, Chile, and the United States, reflecting worldwide patterns of long-term abuse as well as the Church hierarchy's pattern of regularly covering up reports of abuse. From 2001 to 2010, the Holy See examined sex abuse cases involving about 3,000 priests, some of which dated back fifty years. Diocesan officials and academics knowledgeable about the Roman Catholic Church say that sexual abuse by clergy is generally not discussed, and thus is difficult to measure. Members of the Church's hierarchy have argued that media coverage was excessive and disproportionate, and that such abuse also takes place in other religions and institutions, a stance that dismayed critics who saw it as a device to avoid resolving the abuse problem within the Church. In a 2001 apology, John Paul II called sexual abuse within the Church "a profound contradiction of the teaching and witness of Jesus Christ". Benedict XVI apologised, met with victims, and spoke of his "shame" at the evil of abuse, calling for perpetrators to be brought to justice, and denouncing mishandling by church authorities. In 2018, referring to a particular case in Chile, Pope Francis accused victims of fabricating allegations, but by April was apologizing for his "tragic error" and by August was expressing "shame and sorrow" for the tragic history and convened a four-day summit meeting with the participation of the presidents of all the episcopal conferences of the world, to held in Vatican City from 21 to 24 February 2019, to discuss preventing sexual abuse by Catholic Church clergy. (en)
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  • Cases of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, nuns and members of religious orders in the 20th and 21st centuries have led to many allegations, investigations, trials and convictions as well as revelations about decades of attempts by Church officials to cover up reported incidents. The abused include mostly boys but also girls, some as young as three years old, with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14. Criminal cases for the most part do not cover sexual harassment of adults. The accusations began to receive isolated, sporadic publicity from the late 1980s. Many of these involved cases in which a figure was accused of decades of abuse; such allegations were frequently made by adults or older youths years after the abuse occurred. Cases have also been brought against members of t (en)
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  • Catholic Church sexual abuse cases (en)
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