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Sexual Assault at Catholic Colleges and Universities

Sexual abuse has been an ongoing issue among the clergy of the Catholic Church. This is nothing new. However, it is also an issue on the campuses of Catholic colleges and universities. There are many cases that have gone unreported, leaving the victims without justice. Even in the cases where the campus and church responded, there is a gap in justice for the victims. 

What are the Catholic colleges and universities doing about this problem, and why do many of the cases go unreported? 

How Have Catholic Colleges Addressed Sexual Abuse by Clergy?

When you look at what Catholic colleges are doing to address sexual abuse by clergy, it doesn’t look like there is much in the way of justice. There seems to be a lot of education, lectures, and forums about the issues, but not much action. According to one publication, there is quite a bit of emphasis on forgiveness, talking to the clergy, and moving forward. While forgiveness and moving forward isn’t without merit, it leaves out justice for the abused. 

Most Catholic universities are complying with Title IX but that has more to do with sexual abuse among peers rather than the clergy as the perpetrators. Universities do want to give students a chance to vent their frustrations about the sexual abuse, but there isn’t much said about legal means. 

Sexual Assault Statistics at Catholic and Christian Universities

There is no way to get an accurate number when it comes to the number of students that are sexually assaulted at Catholic Universities every year. However, every two years the Title IX survey goes out to students on Catholic college campuses. It is an anonymous survey, and not all students choose to respond. 

In the most recent survey at Catholic University, 11 percent have experienced sexual assault on campus. In all likelihood, this number is actually higher. Even when it is anonymous, students don’t want to report their sexual abuse. In fact, the ACLU has estimated that more than 90 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses go unreported. 

Why Don’t Students Report Sexual Abuse?

There are several reasons why Catholic University students don’t report their abuse. 

  • They are afraid of retaliation
  • They don’t think authorities will take it seriously
  • They are afraid of the reactions of friends and family. 

It is unlikely that the victim is the only victim, so the offender needs to be brought to justice. Student victims need support in order to overcome these challenges and report the abuse.

Let Us Help You

The fear of reporting your sexual abuse by the clergy at your Catholic College or University shouldn’t stop you from getting justice any longer. Massey Law Firm wants to help you get the justice you deserve. We can help you take your power back. Call us now for a free case review.



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