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The Episcopal Conference has presented a report on cases of pedophilia among the clergy of the Italian Church. For the years 2020/21, 89 victims and 68 paedophiles. But an investigation is in progress on 613 files that the dioceses of our country deposited with the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith in more than twenty years: from the year 2000 to today.

These are files containing allegations of abuse and pedophilia against clerics. Everything came out during a press conference on November 17, on the eve of the Day dedicated to victims and survivors of sexual abuse. The representatives of the CEI presented the first Report on the territorial network for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons.

In particular, regarding the 613 files, the General Secretary of the CEI, the Archbishop of Cagliari, Giuseppe Baturi, provided some clarifications. “Of the 613 files – he said – it does not mean that there are 613 cases of priestly pedophilia from 2000 to today in Italy. You should see the contents of the individual files. A single attacker can be the author of several attackers. Nor does it mean that there are 613 pedophile priests on the loose.

Pedophilia, a scourge of the Church

While this analysis is still in its infancy, Avvenire points out, the precise data on cases of pedophilia among the clergy in Italy that the CEI has presented relate only to the last 2 years. In particular, 89 people are alleged victims of pedophile priests. Including 61 in the 10-18 age group, 16 over 18 (vulnerable adult) and 12 under 10 years old. The prevalence of “inappropriate behavior and language” (24) emerged, followed by “touching” (21); “sexual harassment” (13); “sexual relations” (9); “exhibition of pornography” (4); “online solicitation” (3); “acts of exhibitionism” (2). Reports refer to recent and/or current cases (52.8%) and to previous cases (472%).

The secretary of the CEI and archbishop of Cagliari, Giuseppe Baturi. Photo Ansa/Riccardo Antimiani

Who are the perpetrators of the violence?

The profile of the 68 alleged perpetrators of pedophilia shows, in more than half of the cases, individuals aged between 40 and 60 at the time of the events. The ecclesial role covered at the time of the facts was that of clerics (30), followed by lay people (23) and, finally, religious (15). Among lay people, the roles of religion teacher, sacristan, oratory animator, catechist and association leader emerge. The context in which the alleged crimes took place is almost exclusively a physical place (94.4%), mainly in the parish (33.3%) or in the headquarters of a movement or association (21.4 %) or in a house of formation or a seminary (11.9%).

The reaction of victims of pedophilia

“The report is a decoy,” Francesco Zanardi, president of Rete L’Abuso, an association of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and pedophilia, told LaPresse news agency. In fact, it is not an analysis by an independent Commission, as happened in France and Germany, but, in fact, an internal relationship within the Italian Church.

Francesco Zanardi. Photo Ansa/Luca Zennaro

“I’m amazed,” said Zanardi. The report considers only 2 years, during which, among other things, there was Covid and only data from the branches of the diocese. Cardinal Zuppi (president of the IEC, editor’s note) had spoken of 20 years, today the period has been further reduced. However, the data is alarming. In this report, the cases of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the cases that ended up in court and the cases that we have as an association do not appear”. “We have a database of 360 cases over 12 years.”

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