At least 166 children have been sexually abused by Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, according to a report released on Oct. 23. The findings were the culmination of a seven-month investigation funded by an anonymous donor and conducted by a former Colorado U.S. attorney.
The 263-page report alleges that a total of 43 Catholic priests abused children in the state over the past 69 years. However, most of the abuse was committed by five individuals. The report claims that 90 children were molested by just three priests in the Denver archdiocese alone. In addition, it says that it took an average of nearly 20 years for the church to intervene and remove a priest after learning of abuse allegations. It further claims that the church only reported 10 of the 100 sexual abuse instances it knew of since 1950.
The investigation failed to identify any current priests who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. However, the report said it is possible there are still some active in the church. This is because the Colorado dioceses’ policies and records procedures have flaws that make it impossible to rule out the presence of more perpetrators. As it stands, there have been no proven reports of priests sexually abusing children in the state since 1998. However, there were two cases of clergy allegedly grooming children for abuse in the 2000s.
Victims of sexual abuse might be afraid to come forward and confront their abuser in court. However, holding abusers legally accountable for their sexual misconduct may keep them from harming others. It might also lead to a settlement that compensates a victim for their pain and suffering, mental anguish and other losses. An attorney familiar with sexual abuse cases may be able to help a victim file a lawsuit and work to obtain justice.