The Algarve Diocese has confirmed that it has opened an internal investigation into allegations of sexual abuse committed by a priest at an institution in Faro over 30 years ago. The case was reported by the alleged victim on a television show in October.
The allegations have also been reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Faro, the diocese said in a statement to the press.
The victim was reportedly abused by the priest at Casa dos Rapazes, a social solidarity institution in Faro.
“The Diocese of the Algarve did not receive any report about this or any other case of abuse before or after the airing of the TVi show ‘Goucha’,” the diocese said.
It added that the priest who has been accused “immediately made himself available to clarify the matter”. The Catholic branch in the Algarve also said that it has already contacted the victim.
The diocese explained that the institution where the alleged abuse took place “does not have, nor has ever had, any link to the Algarve Diocese and the Catholic Church”.
Nonetheless, it claims that it is doing “everything to unveil the truth” and stresses that “everyone has the right to be presumed innocent” until proven guilty.
Earlier this month, the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (CEP) announced the creation of a national commission to be used for the reporting of alleged sexual abuse.
Said CEP president José Ornelas, priests do not fear the investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. “The Catholic Church continues to face this matter with seriousness,” he said.