The uncovering of a decades-long sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church took the world by storm in the early 2000s. Since then, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has continued to make frontline news. But what about other religions? Let’s take a look.
Catholic Church Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church go back decades, with some of the earliest accusations on record coming from the 1960s. Before sexual abuse was uncovered by news outlets, it was thought that the Church would attempt to cover up accusations of sexual abuse within the organization.
Since then, the Catholic Church has taken several steps to combat the issue. Pope Francis instated a “zero tolerance” policy on sexual abuse. The Church also produced a document meant to detail the steps someone should take when dealing with cases of sexual abuse in their own church. However, sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church continue to make headlines.
Today, thousands of priests in the Catholic Church have been accused of sexual assault. Accusations change daily, so it is hard to know the exact number of priests who have been accused. The John Jay Report, a report commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, set out to study the exact scope of sexual abuse in the Church. As of 2009, 5,768 priests have been accused of sexual abuse. This is about 5% of all Catholic priests in the US.
Abuse in the Catholic Church Vs. Other Religions
Sexual abuse is not a problem solely within the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, several religious orders have sexual abuse accusations.
- Clergy and other staff within the Protestant Church have seen an average of 260 accusations of sexual abuse per year between 1987 and 2007.
- Lutherans have had to deal with accusations of child pornography, sexual abuse, and rape.
- Brooklyn’s Haredi Jewish community has come under scrutiny several times for failing to report cases of abuse.
- The Southern Baptist Church has seen hundreds of accusations of abuse by clergy.
- The Mormon Church has also had its fair share of accusations of abuse and was even linked to covering up sexual assault within the Boy Scouts of America.
- A 2020 report on the Anglican Church found that the church consistently failed to properly respond to victims of abuse and, in some cases, even worsened their trauma.
The common theme among all of these cases is that each organization claims that they didn’t know the abuses were happening. Generally, each church has a set of rules or policies condoning sexual abuse but rarely is there ever internal discipline for offenders.
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More often than not, child abuse of this kind happens because of poor oversight. Abuse isn’t a Catholic problem, nor is it a religious problem. Child abuse occurs in situations where an adult takes advantage of their position of authority. It happens in schools, it happened infamously within the Boy Scouts of America, and it also happens in churches.
Being a victim of sexual abuse can cause lifelong trauma. One way to alleviate some of the pain is to hold your abuser accountable for their actions. Not only would you be protecting others from experiencing future abuse, but you’d also be reclaiming the justice you deserve.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse by a clergy member of any church, give our office a call today. We will give you a free case review and answer any other questions you may have.
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