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Bishop begs forgiveness for Catholic priest abuse

Bishop begs forgiveness for Catholic priest abuse

Published: 14 Apr 2010 10:14 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Apr 2010 10:14 GMT+02:00

The Catholic Church in Sweden has confirmed the receipt of two reports of child sexual abuse perpetrated by priests as Bishop Anders Aborelius asked for forgiveness on Tuesday.

The alleged victims, a man and a woman, both contacted the bishop on Tuesday by email to report incidents of child sex abuse that took place decades ago.

The man told media he had not dared say no when he was sexually molested in a Catholic-run foster home in 1943.

"I was forced to masturbate him in his room on the second floor. A foster child doesn't dare to say no in such a situation," the man, whose name was not given, told daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

"Afterwards he washed himself with soap. I can still smell it today," said the man, who was a teenager at the time of the abuse.

"These things have to be brought out into the open keeping in mind everything that took place all over the world for years and years," he insisted.

The man told DN he had only been abused that one time, but had finally decided to come forward "to make it known that these types of things happened even in Sweden."

Bishop Arborelius said he welcomed the fact that the reports had come to light and confirmed that he had replied to the two people filing the reports and asked for their forgiveness.

"It is important that the victims dare to step forward with their stories, enabling us to get to the bottom of these terrible crimes once and for all."

"We know it is incredibly difficult for victims to dare to talk about this but if there are more people who have been exposed to this by priests here in Sweden, I hope and pray that they have the strength to contact me. We can then look into what happened and they can get redress, while the guilty priests - if they are still alive - can receive just punishment for the crimes they have committed," the bishop wrote in a statement published on Tuesday afternoon.

Arborelius said neither of the two priests involved remained in service, and one was now dead. He confirmed that if the alleged victims so wish then the reports of the incidents will be handed over to the police for investigation.

Only one previous case of child sexual abuse has emerged in Sweden. Three years ago the victim requested, and received, an apology, for abuses perpetrated by a priest 50 years ago.

In a recent interview with news agency TT, Bishop Arborelius refused to ruled out the possibility that further victims would feel the urge to come forward in the wake of similar scandals in other countries.

The embattled Catholic Church has been slammed for doing too little to prevent abuses in a string of countries, with the recent Murphy report commissioned by the Irish government concluding that the church systematically covered up cases of abuse until the mid-1990s.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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