In what Archbishop Diardmuid Martin calls an effort to actively “right past wrongs”, the Archdiocese of Dublin has published a report admitting that 102 of its priests--some 3.5% of its total--have been suspected of sexually or physically abusing young people since 1940.
The report is the largest such admission of abuse in Ireland, which has been particularly hard-hit by the scandals since their surfacing in 1994. It comes ahead of a government-appointed commission which is scheduled to be formed to investigate the improprieties later this month.
The church’s findings are based on a two-year long study of some 2800 priests who have worked within the archdiocese over the past 66 years.
The report stated that eight priests have received criminal convictions while another 32 have been sued by alleged victims. In addition, 40 claims remain unsettled and the archdiocese has positively identified 350 more victims whose cases have yet to be settled. It also cited some 40 more victims who may have been abused but as of the report date, remain unidentified.
According to the archdiocese, Dublin area priests were informed of the updated findings during a deanery meeting on Monday.
The Associated Press reported Archbishop Martin as saying, "It's very frightening for me to see that in some of these cases, so many children were abused. It's very hard to weigh that up against anything."
"On the other hand,” he pointed out however, “I know that the vast majority of priests don't abuse, that they do good work, that they're extremely upset and offended by what's happened."