Mexico has had the highest number of sexual abuse complaints against members of the Catholic clergy in Latin America over the last decade.
According to the Child Rights International Network (CRIN), there have been 550 complaints from 2008 to February of this year against priests and other workers in the Catholic Church. In the last nine years, 152 priests have been suspended from their duties for presumed sexual abuse.
The organization’s report, The Third Wave: Justice for survivors of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Latin America, states that Mexico had over twice as many complaints as the next country on the list, which was Chile with 243. Argentina followed with 129 complaints, then Colombia with 137.
“The church in some countries has revealed some statistics on the number of priests accused of abuse over the years — often the only statistics available — including in Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay, but it systematically withholds the identity of the accused and does not pass on the cases to civil authorities,” the report states.
Basing its information on 19 Latin American countries, the CRIN report indicates that in 2002 some survivors of sexual abuse accused bishops and priests of offering them money in exchange for their silence to protect the church from bad press.
At the Mexican Bishops’ Conference in March of this year it was revealed that 152 priests were under investigation for sexual abuse and had been suspended from their religious duties.
The conference recognized that there is no Mexican organization to compile information about reports of sexual abuse by priests.
The number of complaints cited in the CRIN report came from information compiled by the Mexico branch of the United States-based Survival Network of Those Abused by Priests.
It was decided at the conference that the Catholic Church in Mexico would design and establish certification processes for priests, parishes and catechism centers in order to prevent, protect and attend to cases of sexual abuse against minors.
The conference also stated it would issue protocols and informational texts related to the matter.
Source: Milenio (sp)