On July 27, the Associated Press released an article on sexual abuse by clergy of Catholic sisters in many parts of the world. In response to an inquiry from an AP reporter assigned to investigate incidents of sexual abuse by clergy of sisters in the United States, LCWR released this statement.
[Silver Spring, MD] The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) expresses profound sadness over the sexual abuse by clergy endured by Catholic sisters in many parts of the world. We join with all those demanding the end of a culture that ignores or tolerates sexual abuse of Catholic sisters or any other adult or minor perpetrated by those in positions of trust in the church community. Church authorities must take action to end a culture of silence, hold abusers accountable, and provide support to those abused. We thank all those Catholic sisters throughout the world who, at great risk, have spoken publicly about their abuse.
LCWR does not have data on incidents of sexual abuse by clergy of Catholic sisters in the United States. If sisters have endured sexual abuse, we would urge them to report the abuse to civic and church authorities, and to seek appropriate assistance since no one should have to suffer the long-term effects of abuse alone. We understand that reporting abuse requires courage and fortitude, however, bringing this horrific practice to light may be the only way that sexual abuse by those in positions of trust in the church community will be put to an end.
Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM
Director of Communications
Leadership Conference of Women Religious