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Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Nuns are forcing the Catholic Church to face another kind of sexual scandal among its clergy: the abuse of "religious sisters by priests and bishops," the Associated Press reports.

The big picture: The Church has a rocky history of abuse of young children, but the abuse of sisters is a matter the community has "yet to come to terms with." And in the era of #MeToo, no stone is being left unturned.

What's happening

This isn't a new problem. However, sisters are now going public with their stories around the world, the AP reports.

  • The Vatican received a report on these issues in Africa in the 1990s, but no serious action was taken.

Nuns used to be considered "safe" sexual partners, per the AP, for men in the Church who were concerned about contracting a sexually transmitted disease if he went to women "in the general population."

A leading expert on clergy sexual abuse, Karlijn Demasure, told the AP, priests "can always say 'she wanted it.' It is also difficult to get rid of the opinion that it is always the woman who seduces the man, and not vice versa."

  • The power structure in the Church can foster an atmosphere of dependence. A 2000 report on Vatican officials said that when women travel to Rome for studies, they often "turn to seminarians and priests for help... Sexual favors are sometimes the payment they have to make."
What they're saying (and doing)
  • A group of nuns from a congregation in Chile went public with their stories this week, the AP reports.
  • One sister in India did something largely unthinkable: she filed a police report accusing a bishop of rape.
  • One woman who worked in Kenya in the 1990s, Sister Paola Moggi, told the AP: "I have found in Africa sisters who are absolutely emancipated and who say what they think to a priest...I have also found sisters who said ‘Well, you have to understand their needs, and that while we only have a monthly cycle a man has a continuous cycle of sperm’ — verbatim words from the ’90s."
"I am so sad that it took so long for this to come into the open, because there were reports long ago. I hope that now actions will be taken to take care of the victims and put an end to this kind of abuse."
— Demasure, to the AP

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.