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Australian police charge diocese impaired sex-abuse investigations

Catholic World News - October 11, 2012

Police in the Australian state of Victoria have charged that Catholic leaders stymied their attempts to investigate sex-abuse complaints against priests.

In a report to a parliamentary inquiry on abuse, police said that diocesan leaders discouraging abuse victims from reporting the crimes to law-enforcement officials, and transferred priests who were suspected of abuse. The police added that under the “Melbourne Response,” the official Church program for sex-abuse complaints, the obstruction has continued.

In a separate filing with the parliamentary inquiry, the Catholic bishops of Victoria detailed their efforts to address sex-abuse complaints and safeguard children. The bishops said that they would support mandatory reporting of sex-abuse complaints by priests, provided that the confessional seal was protected. The bishops warned that “legislation requiring priests to violate the sacramental seal of confession will be ineffective as priests will be unable and unwilling to comply.”

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