Mexico Bishops Covered Up Different Forms of Child Sexual Abuse: Report
16 Mexican bishops and high-ranking clerics are alleged to have covered up for priests accused of child sexual abuse. BishopAccountability, a Massachusetts-based organization, issued a list of names, including now retired officials, who covered up for the abusers.
Three bishops from the Archdiocese of Mexico City, led by Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes, are on that list. It also includes the Archdiocese of San Luis Potosi and Archdiocese of Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of the southern state of Chiapas.
Anne Barrett Doyle, of BishopAccountability, said they have identified some leaders of the Catholic Church who appear to have covered, covered up for, abusers and discarded their victims. “Of the 250 priests in our database, I have been surprised by the number of cover-ups and those who covered for them in every one of the cases.”
Fernando Martinez Suarez’s name has also popped up. He was a former Mexican priest who was accused of abuse back in 1992. Suarez was reported to the Legion of Christ religious order by the victims’ families. But instead of taking strict action, the Church had him transferred to a seminary in Salamanca, Spain. He was not punished.
While calls are growing louder for strict action to be taken, a report from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said the number of abuse allegations against Church officials has declined. The July 2023 report attributed this to cultural changes in the church. Numbers are down from over 4,440 allegations in 2019; 4,250 in 2020; and 3,103 in 2021, continuing a four-year downward trend of abuse claims leveled against clergy.
The report described the year-on-year trends as encouraging as the number of current minor allegations within the Church in the United States remains low.