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CHILD ABUSE

Minister: Catholic Church should investigate

After a series of reports of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church of Sweden, Bishop Anders Arborelius wants the state to investigate, but the church minister has expressed reluctance, arguing that the church can manage on its own.

Minister: Catholic Church should investigate

“We need an impartial investigation, we can not manage this ourselves,” Arborelius told the Svenska Dagbladet daily.

“The government should appoint someone. I will write to them shortly. We need someone with no loyalty to the church to shed light on the issue,” the bishop said.

But church minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth is reluctant to approve a state examination of allegations that the church hushed up the reports before a formal request is received and is in general sceptical of state involvement.

“If this is not that extensive then I think the church should be able to manage it itself,” she told the newspaper.

The Swedish cases that have so far come to light have all passed the statute of limitations. Should more recent allegations emerge then they would be a matter for the police.

“The pope now wants more consistent rules. All cases must be forwarded to Rome as part of the ecclesiastical legal process,” said Arborelius, who has recently returned from an audience with the pope on other matters.

Anders Arborelius has written to a Swedish woman who came forward and told of abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, the Christian website Dagen reports.

“I regret the horrible things you have been subjected to and ask for your forgiveness in the Church’s name,” he writes and promised to investigate the abuse.

The woman has however been left unimpressed by the communication.

“It is so pitiful, I have no words to describe it. He writes that he regrets what has happened and asked for forgiveness in the name of the church, but doesn’t mention a word of my brother’s death or that they will conduct an investigation into it,” she told Dagen.

According to the woman, who has since emigrated from Sweden, her brother died as a result of negligence at the monastery where she and her siblings lived as children.

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CHILD ABUSE

Swedish daycare worker jailed for child sex abuse

A Swedish court on Friday sentenced a male daycare (dagis) worker to six and a half years in prison for four cases of rape and 20 cases of sexual assault against toddlers aged one to three in his charge.

Swedish daycare worker jailed for child sex abuse
The assaults took place at eight of the daycares where the man worked from March 2014 until June 2015. Photo: Victor Lundberg / TT

The 40-year-old man, who worked at 40 different daycares in the southern municipality of Kristianstad as a temp agency employee, pleaded guilty to the charges, a statement from the Kristianstad district court said.

The assaults took place at eight of the daycares where he worked from March 2014 until June 2015.

“The man sexually abused several girls during diaper changes. The girls were between one and three years old. The 40-year-old, documented the abuses himself with his mobile phone camera,” the court said.

“The crimes are considered aggravated because of the way he carried them out, the fact that he abused his position as a child minder, and that he abused the trust he enjoyed,” it added.

“Crimes like these are very rare,” court spokesman Markus Nilsson told the AFP news agency.

The defendant also found guilty of one charge of abusive photography and one case of aggravated child pornography for documenting the abuses and saving the photographs on his computer.

The man, whose name was not disclosed, was caught in July when he sexually abused a young girl at a theme park where he was employed.

During police interrogation he came clean about the daycare assaults and rapes.

He risked a maximum sentence of seven-and-a-half years behind bars but was given a year less than the maximum because he had collaborated with the police investigation.

The court also ordered the man to pay damages totalling 1.6 million kronor ($188,000) to his victims.