Legion of Christ Sex Abuse Victims Seek Reparations 25 Years after Abuse
Victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the founder of the Legion of Christ religious order are still seeking reparations from the Legion some 25 years after the scandal broke.
Twenty-five years ago, a Connecticut newspaper published a story from eight men who accused the founder of the Legion of Christ religious order of raping and molesting them when they were boys preparing for the priesthood.
Ten years later, the Vatican finally sanctioned the founder, Rev. Marcial Maciel, and 10 more years later, the Legion admitted that Maciel had violated at least 60 boys.
Over the years, the Legion called the original eight men liars and said they were trying to hurt Maciel.
But in 2010, the Vatican took control of the Legion and found that Maciel had sexually abused seminarians and fathered at least three children with two different women.
Three men from the original eight are still seeking reparations from the Legion to compensate for the abuse and the “moral” harm to their reputations.
The three men had refused previous compensation offers – offers that the other five men accepted.
Jose Barba, one of the three men, said a five-figure settlement offer for each victim was a “humiliation.”
Rev. John Connor, the new head of the Legion, said he has tried to reach out to Barba, but didn’t hear from him until January 2021 about restarting negotiations.
“We are sad that meeting still has not happened, especially considering the positive experience of the encounters with other victims of Fr. Maciel,” Legion spokesman Rev. Aaron Smith said in a statement. “We continue to remain hopeful it will take place in the near future, permitting open dialogue with him.”
Documents from Vatican archives show that popes, cardinals and bishops starting in the 1950s may have “turned a blind eye” to reports that Maciel was a con artist, pedophile and drug addict.
The 1997 story from The Hartford Courant revealed that Maciel would bring the boys into his bedroom at night, saying his stomach hurt, then he would force them to touch him.
But it wasn’t until 2006 when Maciel was sentenced to a lifetime of “penance and prayer.” He died in 2008.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.