Behind Closed Doors: Revealing the Disturbing Reality of Sexual Abuse in the Switzerland Catholic Church

A one year trial study into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Switzerland found that it has happened more than 1,000 times since the middle of the 20th century. In 2022, the Swiss Catholic government commissioned an expert group to do the study.

Historians from the University of Zurich were given access to the records of the Swiss Catholic Church so they could look into sexual abuse in the Church. The Swiss Bishops’ Conference, the Conference of Unions of Orders and Other Communities of Consecrated Life (KOVOS), and the Central Roman Catholic Conference of Switzerland (RKZ) released the results on Tuesday.

The results showed that since the middle of the 20th century, 1,002 cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, church staff, and members of Catholic orders have happened in Switzerland.

The great majority of these cases involved children.

The professors Monika Dommann and Marietta Meier led a team of four researchers who discovered evidence of a variety of sexual abuse, ranging from “problematic boundary violations” to “severe systematic abuse lasting several years.”

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Based on what they found, most of the victims were men or boys (56%), while 39% of the victims were women or girls. The other 5% could not be told what gender they were.

The study goes on to say that these cases are just the “tip of the iceberg” and that “74 percent of the documents reviewed during the study were about sexual abuse of children.

“It is said that more records that have not yet been made public, such as those of religious orders, dioceses, and Catholic schools and care facilities, are likely to “contain more proof of abuse.”

According to the report, researchers found evidence that documents have been destroyed in at least two dioceses, while other cases have not been consistently recorded and archived.

The research team has concluded that further investigation is needed to determine the full extent of historic sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Switzerland.