Spain Jesuit order admits to sexual abuse of 81 children and 37 adults
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Spain Jesuit order admits to sexual abuse of 81 children and 37 adults

The Jesuit order in Spain released a report Thursday in which it admitted to and apologized for 118 cases of sexual abuse committed by its members since 1927.

According to the report, published by the Society of Jesus (Compañía de Jesús en España), 81 of these victims had been children. Abuse ranged from the use of inappropriate language to sexual relations, though the majority of evidence was of inappropriate touching.

The report stresses that the 96 Jesuits responsible for the abuse amounted to only 1.08 percent of its members since 1927. Of the 65 Jesuits who had abused children, 48 have since died. Of the 17 still living, four are no longer Jesuits, and the remaining 13 have either been prevented from working pending the outcome of criminal or internal proceedings, or removed to isolated Jesuit communities.

The society apologized for the “painful, shameful and sorrowful crimes” committed by its members, noting that there had been times when accusations were insufficiently addressed, or the society had remained silent despite knowledge of abuse. “It hurts us that our companions, Jesuits with whom we have lived and shared a mission, have crossed those lines that should never be crossed,” it added in its report.

The report has been welcomed by many as the latest example of increasing accountability within the Catholic Church. However, some remain disappointed that the names of the abusers were not disclosed in the report. They hope that the Jesuits’ investigation will lead to criminal action against the few surviving abusers, as well as plans to compensate the victims.