Child sex abuse probe launched in Catholic Church in Spain after Pope Francis gets newspaper dossier

NEW revelations of child sex abuse cases involving Spain’s Catholic Church will be investigated after a newspaper dossier was handed over to Pope Francis.

The El Pais newspaper says the Spanish bishops conference will run the internal probe after it uncovered 251 cases involving priests and lay people.

The paper has spent three years chasing down abuse reports and compiled a 385-page report.

One of its correspondents handed it over to Pope Francis on December 2 while the papal entourage and journalists flew from Rome to Cyprus.

The number of victims is at least 1,237 but could rise into the thousands, El Pais said, with allegations concerning 31 religious orders and 31 of Spain’s 70 dioceses.

The oldest case dates back to 1942 and the most recent to 2018.

Details of all bar 13-previously published cases are being kept secret by El Pais.

Pope Francis thanked journalists last month for helping to uncover sexual abuse scandals that the Catholic Church originally tried to cover up.

The Vatican told El Pais that Pope Francis acted immediately on the 385-page dossier and that it ‘handed it over to the competent authorities to proceed with investigations under current canonical rules’.

The report was produced after El Pais launched an appeal for potential victims to contact them in 2018.

New complaints are still coming in and journalists are still investigating over 600 reports that have received.

The ‘Stolen Childhood’ abuse association president, Juan Cuatrecasas, said: “We applaud the Pope’s decision and hope the Church in Spain refines its responsibilities, as we demand action not words.”

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