(AFP) Seven percent of Catholic priests were accused of abusing children in Australia between 1950 and 2010 but the allegations were never investigated, “shocking and indefensible” data showed Monday during an inquiry into paedophilia in the church.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that 4,444 alleged incidents of pedophilia were reported to church authorities and in some dioceses, more than 15 percent of priests were perpetrators.
Australia ordered the Royal Commission in 2012 after a decade of growing pressure to investigate allegations of child abuse across the country, with the inquiry now in its final phase after four years of hearings.
“Between 1950 and 2010, overall seven percent of priests were alleged perpetrators,” said Gail Furness, the lawyer leading questioning at the inquiry in Sydney.
“The accounts were depressingly similar. Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious (figures) were moved,” she added.