Sex abuse and the church Catholic reformers want big changes to a church marred by sex abuse Talk of schism is in the air Jul 14th 2022 | BUENOS AIRES, KAMPALA AND MADRID It is just one of thousands of similar stories. Juan Cuatrecasas’s son attended a school in Bilbao run by Opus Dei, a Catholic institution. Around age 12, he became afraid of going, locking himself in bathrooms and suffering panic attacks. He told his parents that his religion teacher had brought him to his office, had him take off his shirt, sat him on his lap and showed him pictures of scantily clad women before touching him through his clothes. Later, he was violated with a pen. Mr Cuatrecasas went first to the school, not the police. The priest claimed he had made the boy undress because it was hot and showed him pictures to explain women’s sexual development. The school denied the worst. The boy was interrogated and his account made to look fabricated. A Spanish court eventually convicted the teacher, sentencing him to 11 years in prison, though that was reduced on appeal. Mr Cuatrecasas echoes a common theme: the abuses are harrowing, but what most outrages some victims is the way the church handles them. Too often, it has denied there is a problem, treated victims dismissively and shuffled the abusers to different jobs where they can re-offend.
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