The Roman Catholic Church has provided its most detailed account to date of the number of clergy officials punished for allegations of child sexual abuse. In testimony to the United Nations, Vatican representative Silvano Tomasi said nearly 850 priests have been dismissed and more than 2,500 have been disciplined.
Silvano Tomasi: “There were, since 2004 to the end of 2013, 848 priests who were dismissed from the clerical status and reduced to the lay status, and several hundred more had received other types of penalties, so that together they are about 3,500 priests.”
Tomasi says the church has paid more than $2.5 billion in compensation to child sexual abuse victims since 1950. The disclosures come as part of a United Nations hearing into the Vatican’s compliance with an international treaty barring torture. In response to Tomasi’s testimony, Barbara Blaine of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, accused the church of continuing to evade responsibility for its crimes against children.
Barbara Blaine: “The bottom line is that everyone has known for decades that sexually abusing a child, raping a child, is crime. And so, for Tomasi to say today that they are learning, that they need more information, they relied on their psychologist, it just is — those are old excuses that don’t pan out, because everyone — even I knew as a child in the 1960s and ’70s that raping children was a crime. So, for them to claim they didn’t know any better is ludicrous.”