As its coordinator, Pedro Strecht, announced today, “it is not possible to quantify the total number of crimes”, admitting that most of the victims “were abused more than once”.
This is stated in the conclusions of the investigation carried out by the commission on the abuses that have occurred in the Church in the last 70 years in Portugal.
Of the total number of complaints received, the commission has sent only 25 cases to Justice because, for the most part, they are already prescribed, although the commission prepares a list with the abusers still active.
11 year old victims
Most of the abusers were men (96%) and priests -around 70%-. and the abuses occurred in seminaries, reception centers, schools or sports institutions.
The average age of the victims was just over 11 years old and most are now around 52 years old. The bulk were children and they withdrew from the Church.
By zones, the crimes were registered throughout the country, with special incidence in Lisbon, Porto and Braga.
The commission demanded the determined action of the Justice and asked for psychological attention for the victims and the suspension of the statute of limitations for the crime for 30 years.
“The testimonies are emotionally very intense” and should serve to end “a long night of silence, shame, fear and guilt,” Strecht said during the presentation of the report, which was attended, in the front row, by Manuel Clemente, Cardinal of Lisbon and José Ornelas, Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, among other members of the leadership of the Portuguese Catholic Church.
The commission, created by the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP) at the end of 2021, is made up of six experts, Strecht, a child psychologist, and psychiatrists, a former Minister of Justice and even a filmmaker.