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4,500 child sexual abuse cases reported against Australia's Catholic Church


Canberra: Almost 4,500 people reported cases of pederasty or child sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church in Australia between 1980 and 2015, according to a report released on Monday ahead of a new round of hearings by the Royal Commission.

The Royal Commission, which is responsible for investigating the extent of and response to child sexual abuse in Australia since 1950, will make a statement to all the country's bishops in a series of public hearings that will last until February 27, Efe news reported.

On the first day, the counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness, said that a total of 4,444 complaints had been filed and that these point to hundreds of priests, 93 of whom hold high positions in the Church, and affect more than a thousand institutions.

The data collected indicates that 78 per cent of the complainants were male and 22 per cent female.

It has also been revealed that the average age of the victims was 11.6 years old in the case of boys and 10.5 in the case of girls. It took them an average of 33 years to file complaints after the alleged abuses were committed.

"Of the 1,880 identified alleged perpetrators, 597 or 32 per cent were religious brothers, 572 or 30 per cent were priests, 543 or 29 per cent were lay people and 96 or 5 per cent were religious sisters," Furness said.

The data also suggested that between 1950 and 2010, more than 20 per cent of Marist Brothers, Salesians of the Don Bosco and Christian Brothers were accused of child sexual abuse, while in the St. John of God Brothers the figure stood at 40.4 per cent.

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