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SPAIN: Catholic Church faces investigation into alleged sex abuse of children

Catholic church in Spain faces major abuse investigation

Christian News (20.12.2021) – https://bit.ly/3HfIUHz – Spain’s Catholic Church is to open an investigation into alleged sex abuse of hundreds of children by members of the clergy dating back 80 years that the newspaper El Pais has uncovered, the daily said on Sunday.

 

The investigation will look into allegations of abuse against 251 priests and some lay people from religious institutions that the paper has uncovered, El Pais said.

 

The paper has not published in full its findings from a three-year investigation it conducted into the issue, but said its correspondent gave a 385-page dossier to Pope Francis on Dec. 2 while the papal entourage and journalists were flying from Rome to Cyprus.

The number of victims is at least 1,237 but could rise into the thousands, the paper said. The allegations concern 31 religious orders and 31 of the country’s some 70 dioceses. The oldest case dates back to 1942 and the most recent to 2018.

 

The investigation will be carried out by the Spanish Bishops Conference, which is headed by Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, the archbishop of Barcelona, according to El Pais.

 

Officials from the bishops conference were not available for comment on Sunday.

 

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement that the pope received the documentation and passed it on to the “competent bodies so it could proceed according to current Church law”.

 

This was an apparent reference to the Spanish Bishops Conference and to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which investigates sexual abuse.

 

Under current Church law the Spanish bishops would have to inform civil authorities about suspected cases of abuse.

 

In November Pope Francis, who has met with dozens of victims of abuse, thanked journalists for helping to uncover clerical sexual abuse scandals.

 

Photo credits: El Pais





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FRANCE sentences Lebanese priest to 15 years on child rape counts

France sentences Lebanese priest to 15 years on child rape counts

Maronite priest Mansour Labaki has been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for sexual crimes committed in the 1990s.

 

The New Arab (09.11.2021) – https://bit.ly/30ig4Gs – A French court sentenced Lebanese priest Mansour Labaky to 15 years in prison after convicting him in absentia on charges of child rape and sexual assault.

 

The Criminal Court of Caen, western France, convicted the 81-year-old Maronite priest and added his name to the list of sex offenders after two hours of deliberations, French media reported.

 

Labaky has been under investigation in France since 2013 when a Vatican court had found him guilty of sexually abusing three children in the 1990s.

 

Labaky has not returned to France since the Vatican verdict. In 2017, the Lebanese state refused his extradition.

 

The priest lives in Lebanon and did not attend the session. He faces up to 20 years in jail.

 

A lawyer for the victims told Lebanese media that Labaky preyed on at 27 least victims.

 

Most of them cannot press charges because the legal timeframe to do so has expired.

 

According to French law, victims of sexual abuse during childhood must press charges within the ten to thirty years following their eighteenth birthday, depending on the type of crime they faced. Oftentimes, people who experienced sexual assault during childhood see their cases dismissed on the grounds that this legal delay has expired.

 

French society was deeply shaken last month following the release on 5 October of a report on sexual abuses in the Catholic Church. The “Sauvé Report”, drafted by an independent commission, revealed that over 300,000 children have been sexually abused by Catholic Church clergy and staff since 1950 in France.

Photo credits: Getty


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