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Australia’s Grim Toll in the Church’s Sex Abuse Scandal

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The global scale of the Catholic clergy’s sexual abuse scandal becomes harder for the Vatican to deny with each shocking national inquiry. The latest, from Australian government investigators, found that from 1980 to 2015 there were 4,444 victims of abuse and at least 1,880 suspected to be abusers, most of them priests and religious brothers.

Through this period, the haunting subtext is the culpability of bishops who did nothing about the crimes. The abused children were ignored or punished while priests who raped children were protected by supervisors.

“Secrecy prevailed as did cover-ups,” said Gail Furness, senior counsel to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The inquiry, which began six years ago, has been meticulous, with hearings investigating 116 institutions, including government agencies responsible for children’s welfare.

 

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