FIRST REPORT.  Italy's Catholic Church releases its first report of alleged clergy sexual abuses.  It said there were 89 presumed victims and 68 accused.  (Anadolu)


ROME – The Italian Catholic Church released its first accounting of alleged clergy sexual abuse against minors and vulnerable adults Thursday.

The 41-page report that covers 2020 and 2021 said there were 89 presumed victims and 68 accused.

Associations supporting the victims denounced the limited report, adding that the actual number of cases was likely much higher.

The Vatican has been expecting a second report covering earlier years, but it is still unclear when it will be released.

According to the first report, most victims were between the ages of 15-18 when they were abused. Sixteen of the victims were adults that the church considered "vulnerable."

The claims mainly involved inappropriate language, behavior, and touching. Alleged abusers included priests and lay people such as church workers and religion teachers.

At a press conference held Thursday, senior church officials said they are researching more than 600 sexual abuse cases filed with the Vatican since 2000.

Victims’ associations said it was shameful that the report only covers two years and does not even include research into the Vatican archives. These groups are still fighting to obtain a full accounting of the abuses perpetrated within the Church, and calling for an independent investigation that should cover many decades, as happened in other countries like France and Germany.

The Vatican report is based on data coming from the so-called "listening centers" in dioceses but only includes information from victims who denounced the abuses.

Italy's main survivors’ group, Rete L'Abuso, estimates around one million victims in Italy. Its head, Francesco Zanardi, blasted the report as "absolutely unsatisfactory and shameful."

"If in two years, they received 89 complaints, that means the problem is there and it's big,'' he added.

Archbishop Lorenzo Ghizzoni defended the first review, saying that he expected more victims to step forward as the reporting system became more friendly. (Anadolu)