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Catholic Church of Australia admits child sex abuse

posted 23 Sept 2012, 04:24 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 23 Sept 2012, 04:31 ]

Roman Catholic Church in the Australian state of Victoria reveals that some of its clergy are responsible for hundreds of cases of child sexual abuse over the past 80 years.
Roman Catholic clergy in the Australian state of Victoria carried out sexual abuse on a scale of hundreds of cases, the church told a meeting of clerics in Melbourne on Friday (September 21).
Up to 620 cases of abuse, some dating back to the 1930s were upheld by the church's complaints procedure which was set up 16 years ago, the Australian broadcaster ABC reported.

"The number is really awful there's no doubt about that," said church spokesman Shane Mackinlay.

The church said that 74 members of the clergy in Melbourne were involved in the abuse and that the majority of the crimes were committed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

"Where there was absolutely dramatic and appalling rates of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, that's dropped off extraordinarily," said Mackinlay.

Barrister Bryan Keon-Cohen, following the developments, believes that there are many more cases of abuse than the church acknowledges.

"Many complainants would've been afraid of it, might not of heard or it, or if they've talked to people that have gone through this process and may have been frightened away," said Keon-Cohen.

The Roman Catholic Church has made a submission to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry which examines child abuse within religious orders.

The Roman Catholic Church has been hit by a wave of sex abuse cases across the globe, including in the United States and Europe.