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MADRID — Spain’s ombudsman mentioned Monday that an unbiased fee arrange a 12 months in the past to research historic intercourse abuse by the Catholic church has collected testimonies from 445 victims, because the nation tackles a difficulty different European international locations acted on way back.

Spain’s parliament voted on March 10, 2022 to open the primary official investigation, led by ombudsman Ángel Gabilondo, into the extent of sexual abuse dedicated by clergymen and church officers. The federal government was pressured to behave after allegations of abuse involving greater than 1,200 victims had been printed in Spanish newspaper El País, upsetting public outrage.

Testimonies had been nonetheless being collected and an replace could be issued in parliament earlier than the present authorities’s time period expires this 12 months, Gabilondo’s workplace mentioned in an announcement. Though “glad” with the variety of victims who felt capable of come ahead, “what actually issues is to hearken to the victims … with respect, seriousness, discretion and confidentiality,” it added.

A Madrid-based legislation agency is conducting a parallel inquiry ordered by the Spanish Episcopal Convention, which for years rejected the concept of taking a complete method to investigating intercourse abuse.

In an indication that bishops might but to have absolutely cooperated with the government-ordered probe, the Spanish ombudsman mentioned {that a} 12 months after receiving his mandate, “we’re requesting the collaboration of various ranges of the Catholic Church and we hope to have the ability to rely on it quickly.”

Solely a handful of nations have had government-initiated or parliamentary inquiries into abuse like Spain’s.

Essentially the most intensive came about in Australia and located in 2017 that 7% of Catholic clergymen had been accused of abusing minors between 1980 and 2010. Decide-led investigations in Eire from 2005 impacted the Catholic Church’s once-dominant affect in Irish society and politics.

And in France, an unbiased inquiry estimated in 2021 that some 330,000 youngsters had been victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy or different Catholic-affiliated lay staff from 1950-2020.

In neighboring Portugal, an skilled panel mentioned final month that greater than 4,800 people might have been victims of kid intercourse abuse within the Catholic Church.

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