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7% of Australia’s Catholic Priests Abused Children, Inquiry Told

An Australian inquiry has found that 7 percent of the nation’s Catholic priests have allegedly committed child sexual abuse. Nearly 4,500 people have claimed they were victims of such crimes between 1980 and 2015, according to a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. Despite previous interviews and allegations, the BBC reports the scale of the problem wasn’t clear until Monday. “Children were ignored or, worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious [figures] were moved,” said Gail Furness, the lead lawyer assisting the commission in Sydney. “The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past.” Furness called the stories “depressingly similar.” According to the inquiry, it took about 33 years for each abuse to be reported. The female victims were an average age of 10.5, and the male victims were an average age of 11.5.