| | 102 Irish Priests Suspected of Abuse
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer
TheRoman Catholic archdiocese of Dublin said Wednesday that 102 of itspriests are suspected of sexually or physically abusing at least 350children since 1940 â€” the biggest such admission to date in Ireland.
Theoffice of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said it was publishing itsfindings ahead of this month's expected formation of agovernment-appointed commission to investigate the history and handlingof such abuse in Ireland.
This predominantly Catholic nation has been rocked by waves of church sex-abuse scandals since 1994.
Thearchdiocese said it conducted a two-year review of the personnel filesof more than 2,800 priests who have worked in the Dublin archdiocese,either as parish priests or in religious orders, during the past 66years.
It found that eight priests in Dublin were convicted ofabuse, while 32 priests have been sued for damages by 105 victims at acost to the archdiocese of $7 million. That figure includes about $2million in legal bills for both sides.
But the report said costswere expected to increase significantly because 40 cases remainedunsettled, while church authorities had positively identified at least350 abuse victims and "a possible further 40 persons who may have beenabused but who it is not yet possible to identify or trace."
Martin,a veteran Vatican diplomat appointed here in 2003, said he believed thearchdiocese would have to sell off some of its properties to cover themounting compensation bill. He called that a necessary sacrifice toright past wrongs, as much as was possible.
"It's veryfrightening for me to see that in some of these cases, so many childrenwere abused. It's very hard to weigh that up against anything," Martinsaid.
"On the other hand, I know that the vast majority ofpriests don't abuse, that they do good work, that they're extremelyupset and offended by what's happened."
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