At least 166 children have been sexually abused by Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, new report finds |

At least 166 children have been sexually abused by Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, new report finds

Jennifer Brown and Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun
Christ the King Chapel, on the campus of the Archdiocese of Denver, is the chapel used by seminary students seeking the priesthood. (Photo provided by the Archdiocese of Denver)

Catholic priests in Colorado sexually abused at least 166 children since 1950, according to a damning, 263-page report released Wednesday by an independent investigator who found the church expunged files and covered up abuse for decades.

It took nearly 20 years on average for the church to stop an abusive priest after receiving an abuse allegation, and more than half of the child victims were sexually abused after the diocese was aware that the priests were abusers, the review found.

The report accuses 43 priests, but most of the abuse was committed by five. In the Denver archdiocese, three priests alone abused at least 90 children. The report said there were 100 instances in which the church could have reported abuse to police dating back to 1950, but did so fewer than 10 times.

The findings come after a seven-month investigation into the church led by Colorado’s former U.S. attorney, Bob Troyer, and after an agreement between the state’s attorney general and the Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo dioceses. The report is the most comprehensive accounting of abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado to date and comes after similar reckonings across the nation. 

The investigation — which was paid for by a private, anonymous donor — did not find any priests currently in ministry who have been credibly accused of abusing children, though the report cautioned that “we cannot be positive there are none.” It was not a grand jury investigation, unlike the Pennsylvania report in 2018 that listed 301 priests.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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