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Why Do Catholic Priests Abuse?

The Catholic Church has an infamous history associated with sexual abuse. Today, many people associate the Church and Catholic Priests with child abuse due to the number of stories in the news. Many often wonder why Catholic priests abuse. While it may seem impossible to imagine, Catholic priests have committed and continue to commit acts of sexual abuse

Why Do Catholic Priests Abuse?

It’s hard to understand why someone would choose to sexually abuse another person. The case is the same with Catholic priests. People blame increased occurrences of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church on several things:

  • A declining level of standard in the Catholic church. 
  • The vow of celibacy that Catholic priests must keep.
  • General ignorance surrounding abuser psychology in the Church.
  • High rates of homosexuality among Catholic priests. 

Whatever it may be that drives a priest to abuse is unimportant. There is no excuse for such terrible behavior. That is why it’s important to hold these abusers accountable for their actions. 

When Did Catholic Church Abuse Start?

Claims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church go back decades. The first legal settlement for clergy abuse was in 1986, but other documented claims go back to the 1960s. Still, many believe that abuse occurred well before then as well. In 2002, the Boston newspaper The Boston Globe broke the story of widespread sexual abuse in the Church. Their report exposed the deeply entrenched problems of abuse within the Catholic Church. 

Since 2002, local dioceses of the Catholic Church have released the names of 5,100 clergy members that are possible sexual abusers. Today, 1,700 of those men are living out their lives like ordinary people, unsupervised, and holding jobs as coaches, teachers, and counselors. 

What Percentage of Catholic Priests are Abusers?

Thousands of victims have filed lawsuits against clergy members of the Catholic Church. According to Catholic Church abuse inquiries, around 4.5% of priests have been accused of sexual abuse, which is over 100,000 priests. But not all cases have been analyzed. Some estimate that this number will be closer to 9% once all cases have been looked through. 

Can Catholic Priests be Prosecuted?

Catholic priests can and should be prosecuted for their actions. If a Catholic priest sexually abuses someone, that victim can file a lawsuit against the perpetrator. If the abuse happened in the past, whether or not you can file a case depends on your state’s statute of limitations.

Arizona’s statute of limitations on civil lawsuits for child sex abuse stops when a victim turns 30. That means you may have a case to pursue legal action against an abuser in the Catholic Church. However, there is no statute of limitations on filing criminal charges for felony sexual abuse. 

Get A Free Case Review

Massey Law Firm is committed to helping our clients reclaim their lives for themselves and seek the justice they deserve. If you or someone you love is a victim of clergy sex abuse, call our office today at 602-955-0055. A member of our team will talk to you about your options and give you a free case review. While we can’t always ease the emotional burden of an experience, we work as hard as possible to get you the justice and financial compensation you deserve.


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