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Report 1941-2019

Every commitment requires accountability. On December 21st 2019, the Legionaries of Christ published a report on sexual abuse in the Congregation dating back to its foundation in 1941, which will be updated periodically.


The victims (1941-2019)
  • 175 minors were victims of sexual abuse committed by 33 priests of the Congregation. This number of victims includes at least 60 known minors abused by Fr. Marcial Maciel.
  • The vast majority of the victims were boys between the ages of 11 and 16.
  • The Congregation has begun a path towards healing and reconciliation with 45 of these victims. There is still a great need to continue opening this path up for others.
Priests that committed child abuse (1941-2019)
  • 33 priests committed abuses as priests or deacons. This number represents 2.44% of the 1,353 ordained throughout the history of the Congregation.
  • Of the 33 priests of the Congregation who committed abuse, six have passed away, eight have left the priesthood, one has left the Congregation and 18 are still in the Congregation.
  • Of the 18 who remain in the Congregation, 14 have no public priestly ministry; four have a restricted ministry that excludes pastoral work with minors (schools, youth groups, etc.). In addition, they have a personal safety plan.
  • Classification according to the number of victims of priests with credible accusations of abuse.
  • Of the 33 priests who have committed abuse, 14 (42.42%) were themselves victims of abuse in the Congregation.
  • Studying this phenomenon, an overview of its historical evolution indicated that there were chains of abuse in which a victim of a Legionary, over the years, sometimes later became himself an abuser. It is worth noting that 111 of the victims were either victims of Father Maciel, or were victims of his victims or of a victim of one of his victims. This represents 63.43% of the 175 victims of priests in the Congregation. Today, none of these 11 priests involved in this chain of abuses publicly exercises priestly ministry in the Congregation. Three of them have passed away.
  • 14 (42.4%) of the 33 priests committed the abuse while they were in positions of authority in the Congregation. This fact made it very difficult—and sometimes impossible—to report and penalize this grave evil. The sexual abuse of minors in the Congregation was linked to the abuse of power and conscience on the part of some who took advantage of their posts to abuse.
  • In most of the abuse cases, according to the historical records, superiors treated the abuse of a minor as a reason to not ordain a seminarian to the priesthood, in accordance with can. 695 of Canon Law. In fact, in eight decades, of the 74 Legionary seminarians[1] who abused, 60 (81.08%) were not ordained in the Congregation. Of the 14 who were ordained, two have since passed away, two have restrictions, four are under investigation, and six are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Congregation. According to the historical records, of the three that were ordained after 2005, the superiors admitted them to ordination without knowledge of the facts.
  • In the history of the Congregation, there have been over 6500 who entered the first stage (novitiate). 74 abused as seminarians, 33 as priests (of whom 3 had abused also as seminarians). Those who abused in the Congregation are 1.60% of all Legionaries.