(AP) Seven percent of priests in Australia’s Catholic Church were accused of sexually abusing children over the past several decades, a lawyer said Monday as officials investigating institutional abuse across Australia revealed for the first time the extent of the crisis.
The statistics were released during the opening address of a hearing of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The royal commission — which is Australia’s highest form of inquiry — has been investigating since 2013 how the Catholic Church and other institutions responded to the sexual abuse of children over decades.
The commission has previously heard harrowing testimony from scores of people who suffered abuse at the hands of clergy. But the full scale of the problem was never clear until Monday, when the commission released the statistics it has gathered. [More]