New Zealand’s Catholic Church revealed publicly for the first time on Tuesday the scale of “horrific” abuse, including sexual abuse, perpetrated since the 1950s by members of the clergy and other religious against more than 1,000 people, half of them minors.
In a statement, the religious organization has pointed out that almost half of the 1,680 complaints, made by 1,122 people, involved sexual harm perpetrated mainly in educational facilities or residential homes. 75% of these alleged abuses occurred before the 1990s, he says.
The complaints affect 14% of the 1,274 diocesan clerics, that is, those who have worked for a bishop since 1950, as well as 8% of the 2,286 brothers or priests of a congregation and 3% of the 4,247 sisters or nuns who performed those functions for the past 70 years.
These data are part of a report prepared by the Catholic Church of New Zealand for the Government Commission formed in 2018 by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, to investigate the abuses committed within the institutions of the oceanic country.
Cardinal John Dew, president of the New Zealand Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement that these statistics are “appalling” and “something we are deeply ashamed of.”
This report has been released a few days after the government commission, which revealed two years ago in a preliminary document that some 250,000 minors and vulnerable adults were victims of abuse since 1950, held public hearings on emblematic cases of abuse within the Catholic Church.
A “terrible damage”
These hearings will focus on the Marylands School, a boarding school for boys and the disabled in the city of Christchurch and the Hebron Trust for minors at risk, run by members of the order of the Brothers of God of Saint John, as well as the neighboring orphanage of St Joseph of the Sisters of Nazareth.
Complaints linked to the Marylands school and the Hebron Trust represent 14% of the total reports of abuse collected in the report of the Catholic Church, while another 14% correspond to the orphanage of St Joseph and the Home of Nazareth.
Additionally, three of the most prolific alleged abusers in the Catholic Church worked in Maryland, and one of them created the Hebron Trust.
Te Rōpū Tautoko, the organization that produced the report, admits that the figures do not represent all abuse, which includes physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, as well as neglect, but only the cases that have been reported and preserved in the files.
“Each piece of information represents the lives of many people. Many of them represent the terrible damage done by one person against another. We can never forget this,” Sister Margaret Anne Mills, president of the Congregational Leaders Conference of New York, said in a statement. New Zealand.