Dealing with clergy sexual abuse is tougher than usual sexual offenses targeting children and minors. For some apparent reasons, there is a greater amount of media attention recently. Even though hundreds of alleged victims have surfaced to look for justice, majority of the cases have been covered up for the sake of the church’s reputation. Cover ups are chiefly done through financial settlements. This fact is confirmed by the spending of 600 million dollars by the Catholic Church for the purpose of compensating alleged victims of sexual abuse by its priests. In return, the victims are forced to keep quiet. Though the numbers are quite disturbing, one should remember that the Vatican is still not quite convinced that such settlements have occurred.
Aside from purportedly paying off victims, the Roman Catholic Church is also accused of the following:
- Continuously hiding and concealing cases and evidence of sexual abuse involving priests and clergy members
- Incessantly ignoring the substantial accusations of many victims to protect the integrity and reputation of a specific diocese or congregation
- Preventing many cases to go to the police or courts, and instead, make some steps like transferring accused priests to other areas in order to avoid suspicion or aggravation of the issue.
Of course, if all these things are true, the most affected are the children and minors who have been victimized. Some of them have experienced abuse continuously for months or even years. The kind of trauma they get from it far exceeds the money paid to keep them from revealing the abuse. No matter how large the value is, it will never compensate the physical, emotional, as well as psychological consequence of the exploitation initiated by one of the most trusted persons in society.
It is kind of sad to note that these people who are very close to God and have the strongest faith in Him can swallow this kind of crime. The feeling of betrayal, not only by the victim, but as well as the congregants and followers of the church, will remain as long as justice isn’t served.