The bishop of the Diocese of Portalegre-Castelo Branco revealed this Thursday that there are records of two cases of alleged sexual abuse in that territory between 1958 and 1981, but the two priests who supposedly committed the acts have since died.
In a statement, published on the personal Facebook page of the bishop of the Diocese of Portalegre-Castelo Branco, Antonino Dias explains that the alleged acts took place “between 1958 and 1981”, in “different situations and circumstances”.
In the document, Antonino Dias also explains that, according to the data contained in the final report of the Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse of Children in the Catholic Church in Portugal, complaints were received regarding “five alleged cases” of sexual abuse that occurred in the territory of that diocese and referring to members of the Church.
According to the bishop, in three of the cases the name of the abusers was not mentioned and, in the other two cases, yes.
On the list delivered on March 3 by the president of the Independent Commission, in Fátima, “there are these two names of abusers”, who, according to Antonino Dias, have already died, namely one in the 60s and the other in the 80s of the last century.
This Thursday, the Lusa agency telephoned the Episcopal Palace in Portalegre to obtain clarification on this and other matters within the scope of these cases, but was informed that Antonino Dias is on a pastoral visit, and a set of questions addressed to the bishop of the Diocese of Portalegre-Castelo Branco.
The Independent Commission for the Study of Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church validated 512 testimonies, pointing, by extrapolation, to at least 4,815 victims. Twenty-five cases were sent to the public ministrywhich opened 15 investigations, of which nine were archived.
The testimonies refer to cases that occurred between 1950 and 2022, the time span covered by the commission’s work.
In the report, released in February, the commission warned that the data collected in ecclesiastical archives on the incidence of sexual abuse “should be understood as the ‘tip of the iceberg’” of this phenomenon.
The commission handed over to the Portuguese Episcopal Conference a list of alleged abusers, some of whom are active, who sent the decision to remove priests suspected of abuse to the dioceses and rejected the award of compensation to the victims.