The issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been gaining more attention, as more survivors come forward with credible claims and pursue legal action against those they believe are responsible for the harms they suffered. The Hartford Archdiocese recently published a list of 48 priests who are facing credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors. In addition, the archdiocese issued a statement that it has paid approximately $50.6 million in settlements of over 140 sexual abuse cases. The archdiocese has retained the services of a retired Connecticut judge in order execute a review of all the church’s personnel files going back to the formation of the diocese in 1953, to address the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, so that answers can be found, and further actions can be taken if necessary.
One victim of abuse has stated that naming the accused abusers was the right thing to do, but that those in positions of power who permitted the abuse to continue by moving priests to other locations need to be held responsible. He wants to see more transparency.
Lawsuits are pending against some of the priests. Most of these cases involved incidents that took place before 1990. So far $35 million total in damages were recovered by victims who were abused by priests in the 1970’s, although they did not pursue their legal claims until years after the incidents took place. The average settlement in these claims was approximately $356,000.
The issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is an important one, and the survivors deserve to hold those responsible accountable, so they can begin the healing process and have a sense that justice has been done. While it is good that the Catholic Church is taking steps to remedy the problem, there is still much more to be done. For this reason, some survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are continuing to pursue legal action against those who harmed them.