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Global Roman Catholic Church sex scandals

Reuters

An Irish report on Wednesday detailed decades of child abuse in Catholic-run state schools and orphanages. Following are details of other sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church around the world.

AUSTRALIA

2008: In July 2008 Pope Benedict during a visit to Australia apologized for sexual abuse by clergy, condemning it as “evil” and saying abusers should be brought to justice. The comments are believed to be the first time the pope has specifically apologized for sexual abuse by clergy and stated clearly that abusers should be brought to justice. At that time there had been 107 convictions for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church there.

AUSTRIA

1995: The archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, was forced to retire after allegations that he had molested a schoolboy 20 years earlier.

July 2004: Austrian News magazine Profil ran pictures of priests kissing and groping seminarians studying for the priesthood at a Roman Catholic seminary in the St. Poelten diocese.

BRITAIN

July 2000: The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, acknowledged he had made a mistake while in a previous post in the 1980s by allowing a pedophile to continue working as a priest. The priest at the centre of the controversy, Father Michael Hill, was jailed in 1997 for abusing nine boys over a 20-year period.

FRANCE

March 2000: A court sentenced Abbot Jean-Lucien Maurel to 10 years in prison for raping and sexually abusing three boys. The assaults dated to 1994-96, when Mr. Maurel was head of a school in the southern French department of Aveyron.

IRELAND

April 2002: Brendan Comiskey, one of Ireland's best-known priests, resigned as Bishop of Ferns over the way he had dealt with allegations of sexual abuse against a priest of his diocese, Father Sean Fortune. Fortune committed suicide in 1999 while facing 66 charges of sexual abuse.

March 2009: John Magee, bishop of Cloyne in the south of Ireland since 1987, under fire for his handling of reports of sexual abuse in his diocese, quit his daily duties to deal with the inquiry.

POLAND

March 2002: Archbishop Juliusz Paetz quit following accusations, which he denied, of sexually molesting young priests.

UNITED STATES

2002: Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law, the most senior Roman Catholic official in the United States, resigned over his handling of clergy sexual abuse.

2002: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops directed each diocese to promptly investigate all allegations of sexual abuse.

Sept. 2003: Boston Archdiocese agreed to pay up to $85-million (all figures U.S.) to settle lawsuits filed by hundreds of people who said they were sexually abused by clergy.

Feb. 2004: Independent researchers commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a report on alleged priestly sexual abuse of children in the United States. It said a total of 10,667 people accused priests of child sexual abuse from 1950 through 2002. More than 17 per cent of accusers had siblings who were also allegedly abused. Among accusers, 46.9 per cent said they had been abused numerous times. In a speech delivered shortly before he was elected pope, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said the Church had to clean out the “filth” in its ranks.

July 2007: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660-million to 500 victims of sexual abuse dating as far back as the 1940s in the largest compensation deal of its kind.

August 2008: Chicago's Roman Catholic archdiocese announced it would pay $12.7-million to settle 16 claims of sexual abuse involving 10 former priests and a school principal. The Chicago church has settled more than 100 cases.

April 2008: Pope Benedict met victims of sexual abuse by priests during his visit to the United States in an effort to heal the scars. The U.S. Church has paid some $2-billion in settlement to victims since the scandal first broke in 1992.

Sources: Reuters/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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