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Polish Catholic Church releases report on child sex abuse by priests

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WARSAW -- A total of 382 Catholic clerics in Poland have sexually abused children and minors over the past 30 years, the country's Bishops' Conference admitted in a report released on Thursday.

Figures showed clerics had attacked around 650 children and minors between 1990 and the middle of last year, according to the report, which was compiled using data from dioceses and religious orders around the country.

The majority of victims, 345, were under the age of 15 and 58.4 percent of them were boys.

Archbishop Wojciech Polak, Poland's top Catholic cleric, expressed "pain, shame and guilt" over the findings of the report.

However victims' groups accused the Church of continuing to protect pedophile priests and complained that there was not enough information given about the role of bishops in covering up their crimes.

They also demanded to know whether the information on known sex offenders had been handed over to police.

The Catholic Church has been rocked by child sex abuse scandals around the world in recent years and has repeatedly faced allegations that the scope of the crimes was covered up.


A major international conference was held at the Vatican in February to address the issue.

However the Church in Poland, where 90 percent of the population is Catholic and there are continued reports of pedophile priests, has until now failed to undertake any more thorough probe of the problem.

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