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Jul 25, 2014|
A UK child protection watchdog says 52 Roman Catholic priests have been defrocked in England and Wales for sexual abuse since 2001.
The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) said on Thursday that 598 abuse allegations were reported against clergy members by dioceses and religious congregations between 2003 and 2013, with 77 percent of them being related to sexual abuse.
NCSC chairman Danny Sullivan noted that the priests who are convicted of abuse would be stripped of their ministry by a local bishop.
“For 11 years now in the Church we have made it clear that if anybody comes forward with allegations, whether current allegations, or ones from the past, we will automatically refer it to the statutory authorities,” Sullivan said.
This comes as there are still concerns over unreported cases because of the failure of some victims to come forward.
Anne Lawrence, a former chairwoman of the Minister and Clergy Sex Abuse Survivors (MACSAS) support group, commented on the figures, saying they represented just the “tip of the iceberg.”
The Roman Catholic Church has been hit by numerous scandals in the US and Europe in the past few years, including allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests to protect pedophiles and its own reputation.
Earlier this month, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, offered his apologies and vowed to punish the clergymen who sexually abuse children.
Back in May, the United Nations Committee against Torture accused the church of ducking responsibility in the case of sexual abuse by priests. The committee also blasted the Vatican’s practice of transferring abusing clergymen from parish to parish in a bid to hide their crimes.