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Irish review board reports rise in abuse charges, raps bishops' failure to cooperate

Catholic World News - May 11, 2011

Ireland’s National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC), in its 3rd annual report, has recorded a significant rise in the number of allegations of abuse in the past year.

The NBSC reported 272 new abuse allegations in the year-long period ending March 31—a sharp increase over the 197 cases reported for the previous year. All of these allegations were reported to civil officials, the report said.

Most of the charges involve incidents that occurred in the past, the NBSC said. In 86 cases, the priest or religious accused of abuse is now deceased. Only 12 cases involve priests or religious who are now in active ministry.

However members of the NBSC, which was established by the Irish bishops in 2006 to monitor abuse charges, complained that the bishops have routinely failed to report abuse allegations to their board. Only 53 of this year’s cases had been reported to the NBSC before a final audit uncovered another 219 cases. Ian Elliott, who chairs the NBSC, disclosed that he has considered resigning “on several occasions” because of his frustration with the bishops’ failure to cooperate with his investigations.

Nevertheless the Irish bishops’ conference released a statement welcoming the new NBSC report and promising to cooperate fully with the group’s continued work. “We look forward to continuing our work with the Board and to resolve any remaining issues as quickly and as comprehensively as possible," the bishops said.

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