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Swedish Church to probe sex abuse allegations

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08:23 CEST+02:00
Following several complaints about sexual abuse committed by its pastors, the Church of Sweden has announced plans to launch an investigation into how widespread the problem is.

Archbishop Anders Wejryd said he plans to collect information about cases which have come to light thus far.

"I'm going to contact the chapters in the diocese in order to get an overall picture of the decisions that have been reached and the cases that have been brought up," Wejryd told Svergies Radio (SR).

Currently, the Church of Sweden lacks a comprehensive picture of cases in which active pastors have had sexual relations with parish members or sexually abused people they met while in service.

A report by the Aftonbladet newspaper also highlighted cases in which allegations of sexual abuse made to church officials were never reported to police.

"We can simply confirm it; that there have been too few reports made to police regarding the crimes we've had," Inger Lise Olsen, who deals with equality issues within the Church of Sweden, told SR.

According to established guidelines, any suspected crimes committed by active pastors should be reported to the police.

"It's very important for us to see if our guidelines are being followed," Wejryd said.

According to Aftonbladet, a number of the reported instances of sex abuse within the Church of Sweden took place more than 30 years ago.

Exactly how to deal with older cases represents a challenge for the church because, according to current regulations, the Church of Sweden can't take disciplinary action for cases that took place prior to 2000, when the church was part of the state.

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