An ultra-conservative Roman Catholic order admitted that its founder sexually abused 60 different children, and that 115 other minors were likewise abused since the inception of the institute.
Legionaries of Christ, founded in Mexico in 1941, said in a report that 33 priests had abused 175 different kids over the years since it started operations. Keep in mind that these types of internal investigations often underestimate the true numbers of credible allegations.
Marcial Maciel Degollado was ordered to retire in 2006 based on child sex abuse allegations.
He died two years later at the age of 87 without facing his accusers.
“There are probably more cases of abuse than those in the report and the statistics will have to be updated regularly,” the report said.
It added that a process of “reparation and reconciliation” had begun with 45 of the victims.
Because the founder of this order has been dead for more than 10 years, he has never truly been held accountable for what he did. As is often the case, this report focuses mostly on misconduct from the distant past.
Still, it’s nice to see a report acknowledging any abuse from within its own ranks. And in this case, it details exactly what happened to the offender priests, which in many cases is basically nothing.
According to the report, six of the 33 accused priests died without being tried, one was convicted, and one is currently awaiting trial — and has “already [been] removed from clerical status”.
Another 18 are still part of the organisation, but they have been removed from tasks where they interact with the public or with children.
The report added that 14 of the 33 priests were also victims themselves, which it said highlighted the “chains of abuse”, where “a victim of a Legionnaire, over time, becomes in turn an aggressor“.
The pattern they’re describing doesn’t excuse anyone’s behavior. In fact, it is a testament to exactly how corrupt this particular organization actually was. That’s not really a surprise, though, considering it was founded by a serial child abuser.
Maciel strongly denied the accusations since the 1940s, even saying he “never engaged in the sort of repulsive” behavior of which he was accused, but more and more evidence is coming out. It’s only a matter of time before we know the true extent of his crimes, as well as those of basically other religious leader who uses the public’s trust to abuse young kids.
(Screenshot via YouTube)