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Melbourne archbishop issues apology, says 60 priests abused children

Catholic World News - July 05, 2010

Offering “a sincere and unreserved apology to all those victims who have suffered the pain and humiliation of sexual abuse and to their families,” Archbishop Denis Hart of Melbourne has issued a pastoral letter on sexual abuse.

“In the past 14 years, about 300 people have been compensated as victims of sexual abuse within the archdiocese,” he wrote in his July 1 letter. “Most of the complaints relate to incidents from 30 and up to 80 years ago. We receive few complaints of abuse that has taken place since the 1970s.”

“86 offenders have been identified over an 80 year period, of whom 60 were priests of the archdiocese. 35 of those priests are now deceased.”

“Sexual abuse in any form, and any attempt to conceal it, is a grave evil and is totally unacceptable,” he added. “As Christ’s Church we must face up to the truth of these revelations and not attempt to disguise, diminish or avoid in any way the actions of priests and religious who have betrayed their sacred trust.”

“In my reflections on the sexual abuse crisis, I have been much encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI, who has never shirked the issue, and has been at great pains to apologize to victims.”

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