In March 1995, a former student accused the then chairman of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, of abuse. The cardinal resigned from his position, but refused to comment on the allegations. Rome avoided taking tough measures against the cardinal. The Vatican accepted his offer of resignation, which he had submitted before the scandal emerged. But the cardinal remained in office through the autumn. Groer first gave a half-hearted apology after four bishops, in a joint statement, said they believed the allegations to be true.
At the end of the 1980s, hundreds of cases of sexual abuse came to light in a Christian Brothers orphanage in Newfoundland, Canada. An investigative commission examined the case and eventually launched prosecutions and forced compensation payments totalling the millions.
In 1999, Catholic priest James Jickey of the St. John’s Diocese was prosecuted and sentenced to prison for molesting boys. But the Church fought demands that compensation be paid to the victims for a decade.
In 2009, a ruling was finally issued. The judges said the Church was indirectly responsible for the crimes.
In Boston in 2002, a priest was brought to trial in a case involving the sexual abuse of 130 children. The trial led to the disclosure of a number of other cases. Allegations were lodged against thousands of priests. The cover-up, which lasted for years, was symptomatic of the way the American bishops dealt with pedophile priests.
At the end of April 2002, the pople ordered American cardinals to Rome and decreed rules for dealing with sexual crimes.
The Catholic Church has paid over $2 billion in damages to the victims.
During his trip to Australia in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the numberous cases of abuse in the country’s dioceses and expressed his compassion for the victims.
Over the years, new cases continued to come to light, and numerous priests were also convicted.
In 2002, the Catholic Church apologized for the crimes of hundreds of priests, who were found guilty of sexual abuse. One year later, news of additional cases surfaced, leading to the suspension of 34 priests.
A government-ordered expert commission found that the Catholic Church had covered up allegations of sexual abuse for decades. In hundreds of cases, former archbishops in Dublin protected priests instead of turning the cases over to the police. After the report’s publication, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin apologized to the victims. “I offer to each and every survivor, my apology, my sorrow and my shame for what happened to them.”
A previous report had already shaken the country in May 2009. It found that sexual abuse, rape, chronic beatings and humiliation had been persistent from the 1930s until the 1990s in Catholic industrial schools and orphanages.