Portugal Report Details Decades of Sexual Abuse by Priests and Others Within the Catholic Church

Thousands of children have been sexually abused by priests and others within the Catholic Church in Portugal since the 1950s, an independent commission announced Monday.

The commission’s final report, authorized by Portugal’s bishops’ conference, marks the first study of its kind in the overwhelmingly Catholic country and paints a grim picture of clerical abuse dating back decades.

The commission, which began its work in January last year, received a total of 564 testimonies, of which it validated 512. Many of the victims who testified said they knew of other children who also had been abused.

Taking these references into account, the commission arrived at “a more extensive network of victims, estimated at a minimum number of 4,815 children,” the group’s coordinator, psychologist Pedro Strecht, explained to journalists during a news conference Monday.

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