June 2, 2010 / 4:06 PM / 9 years ago

Factbox: Sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church

(Reuters) - Robert Zollitsch, Germany’s top Roman Catholic bishop is being investigated on suspicion of allowing a priest accused of child abuse in the 1960s to be reappointed to a parish job in 1987, state prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Following are revelations in the major abuse scandals: * GERMANY: Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, Germany’s top Catholic bishop, apologized in March for mistakes he made in failing to report to authorities one case of suspected abuse by a priest in the Freiburg diocese nearly 20 years ago.

— Prosecutors in Freiburg said on Wednesday charges of aiding and abetting sexual abuse had been filed against Zollitsch.

— A Jesuit investigation, commissioned in January, cited on May 27 205 allegations of sexual abuse against priests at its schools in Germany, revealing decades of systematic abuse and attempts of a cover-up by the Roman Catholic order. The report, detailed harsh corporal punishment and sexual abuse stretching back as far as the 1950s.

— Since January, media reports have documented more than 250 cases of abuse in Catholic schools, prompting the government to set up a round table to address issues of abuse in Germany. — Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg in Bavaria on May 8, the first bishop to quit in the pope’s native Germany over the child abuse scandal. He was accused of sexually abusing minors.

* IRELAND: May 2009 - The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse issued a five-volume report saying that priests abused children for decades in Catholic-run institutions.

— November 2009 - The government-commissioned Murphy report into abuse in Dublin from 1975 to 2004 said church authorities covered up cases of child sexual abuse until the mid-1990s.

— February 2010 - Benedict held crisis talks with 24 Irish bishops at the Vatican. The bishops promised him they were committed to cooperating with authorities.

— March 2010 - Benedict apologized to victims of child sex abuse by Irish clergy, saying he felt “shame and remorse.” He also announced a formal Vatican investigation of Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious orders. Irish victims accused the pope of evading the question of Vatican responsibility.

— The pope accepted the resignation of Bishop John Magee of Cloyne, accused of mishandling reports of sexual abuse in his diocese on March 24. He later accepted the resignation of two other Irish bishops.

— The Vatican on May 31 named two cardinals and three archbishops from England, the U.S. and Canada to lead its inquiry into sexual abuse by clergy in Ireland which is to begin in the autumn.

* UNITED STATES: June 2002 - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops agreed to bar pedophile priests from ever again acting as clerics, but not necessarily to expel them from the priesthood.

— February 2004 - Independent researchers said 10,667 people accused U.S. priests of child sex abuse from 1950 to 2002. More than 17 percent of accusers had siblings who were also abused.

— July 2007 - Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to 500 victims of sexual abuse dating as far back as the 1940s, the largest compensation deal of its kind.

— April 2008 - Benedict met victims of abuse by priests during his visit to the United States. The U.S. church has paid $2 billion in settlements to victims since 1992.

— March 2010 - The Vatican criticized The New York Times for its coverage of the scandals. The Vatican denied any cover-up in the abuse of 200 deaf boys by Reverend Lawrence Murphy from the 1950s to 1960s after the newspaper reported he was not defrocked despite warnings sent to the Vatican and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then the church’s top doctrinal official, now Pope Benedict.

* SWITZERLAND: The Diocese of Chur, in eastern Switzerland, said on March 20 it was investigating around 10 complaints. The abbot of a monastery in the diocese said at least three of the 77 monks at Einsiedeln had committed acts of abuse since he took office in December 2001, but no legal action had been taken.

* NETHERLANDS: A newspaper said three priests from the Salesian order abused pupils decades ago at a boarding school near the Dutch-German border.

* AUSTRIA - A wave of reports of child sexual abuse in Austrian Catholic institutions was triggered by the resignation of the arch-abbot of Salzburg’s St Peter’s monastery in March after admitting to sexually abusing a boy 40 years ago.

* AUSTRALIA - July 2008 - On a visit to Australia, Pope Benedict apologized for sex abuse by clergy. At that time there had been 107 convictions for abuse in the Catholic church there.

* BRITAIN - July 2000 - London Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor acknowledged making a mistake in a previous post in the 1980s by allowing a pedophile priest to continue working. The priest was jailed in 1997 for abusing nine boys.

* BELGIUM - Roger Vangheluwe, the bishop of Bruges, resigned on April 23 after admitting he had sexually abused a boy more than 20 years ago when in charge of the Bruges diocese.

* MEXICO - In March 2009 Pope Benedict ordered an inquiry into the Legionaries of Christ priestly order whose founder was discovered to be a sexual molester. In 2006, the pope told the founder, Father Marcial Maciel, to retire to a life of “prayer and penitence.” Maciel died in 2008.

His order acknowledged in 2009 he had fathered at least one child with a mistress and formally apologized to his victims in March 2010. Benedict will appoint a special envoy to run and reform the order, the Vatican said on May 1.

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