An independent commission documented cases since the 1950s. Eight in ten abusers were priests and most of the victims were boys aged 10-14.
A report made public in Portugal has counted 4,815 victims of child abuse in the context of the Roman Catholic Church in the southern European country.
The independent commission tasked with investigating the abuses started working in January 2022. It listened to direct testimonies of over 500 victims and interviewed bishops and other clergy.
According to the investigation led by child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht, 77% of perpetrators in the cases documented were priests. Most victims were boys aged between 10 and 14.
“(We want) to pay a sincere tribute to those who were abuse victims during their childhood and dared to give a voice to silence”, said Pedro Strecht as he presented the report in Lisbon on 13 February, according to Reuters. “They are much more than a statistic”.
The head of the Bishop's Conference, Jose Ornelas, attended the presentation of the report. He said the Roman Catholic Church would "take appropriate measures" to offer "justice" to victims. The commission is independent but has been funded by the Church.
The documented abuses happened in Catholic schools, churches, priests’ homes, and confessionals, among other places.
Only in the case of 25 victims an investigation by the public prosecutor could be opened since most of the cases happened over twenty years ago and therefore legal proceedings could no longer be opened.