Catholic priests in Colorado sexually abused at least 166 children in the past 70 years

cathedral on Pubelo CO

A cathedral in Pubelo Colorado.  

CNN: At least 166 children were abused by dozens of Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, a report released Wednesday says.

The 263-page report details decades of misconduct and reveals how it took nearly 20 years for one diocese to discipline priests accused of sexually abusing children.

“This is a dark and painful history,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told reporters. “The culture going back decades was one where there was a reluctance to acknowledge and address wrongdoing.”

The report was commissioned by the Colorado attorney general’s office in agreement with the state’s three dioceses to document sexual misconduct involving minors by priests.

For seven months, former US Attorney Bob Troyer reviewed more than 500 priest files and interviewed witnesses, victims, priests and law enforcement. In his findings, Troyer says most of the incidents took place in the 1960s and 1970s.

The most recent allegations were made in 1998 and involve a Denver priest who sexually abused four children, the report states.

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila apologized to the victims in a video and a letter posted online.

“If any survivor wishes to meet with me personally, my door is open,” Aquila said. “I have met with many survivors, and from these heart wrenching personal interactions, I know there are no words that I can say that will take away the pain.

“However, I want to be clear that on behalf of myself and the Church, I apologize for the pain and hurt that this abuse has caused. I am sorry about this horrible history — but it is my promise to continue doing everything I can so it never happens again. My sincere hope is that this report provides some small measure of justice and healing.”

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