AP Exclusive: 8 victims seek damages from Legion of Christ

Source: Associated Press

By NICOLE WINFIELD

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Eight victims of the Catholic Church’s most notorious pedophile are pressing the Legion of Christ religious order to compensate them for the sexual abuse they endured and the psychological harm they say resulted from the order’s prolonged campaign to discredit them.

The men, some of whom are suffering financial and medical hardships as they age, sent a letter to the Legion’s leadership seeking public recognition of their status as victims of the Rev. Marcial Maciel and the Mexico-based order, which was once one of the fastest-growing congregations in the church but suffered a credibility crisis over Maciel’s crimes and cover-up.

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The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, is the latest indication that clergy abuse victims are increasingly demanding recognition and apologies not just for their abuse, but for the retaliation often inflicted on them by church leaders after they reported allegations.

Just this week, Pope Francis acknowledged making “grave errors” in discrediting abuse victims in Chile, and begged their forgiveness.

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