Sex abuse by clergy a crime: Brazil Church

Brazilian Roman Catholic Church describes cases of child abuse committed by clergymen as crimes which must be probed.

Brasilia: The Brazilian Roman Catholic Church has said that cases of child abuse committed by clergymen are crimes that should not be covered up and must be investigated right away.

Wrapping up its annual meeting in the world`s largest Catholic country yesterday, the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops also said it did not condone sending priests accused of abuse to other locations, a practice that has helped some alleged abusers escape prosecution.

There were recent reports of 30 cases around the world of priests accused of abuse who were transferred or moved abroad, and some escaped police investigations. Many had access to children in other countries, and some abused again. The probe spanned 21 nations across six continents.

Conference president Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha called child abuse a sin for which the church must show "forgiveness and mercy”, but also a crime that must be dealt with to the full extent of civil and canon law.

"Should a candidate for the priesthood show any sign that he may go down the wrong path in this area, he must be barred from entering the seminary," Rocha said.

A statement released by the bishops said clergymen accused of child abuse should be banned from the priesthood.


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