CATHOLIC CLERGY SEXUALLY ABUSED OVER 4,500 MINORS- REPORT

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FILE - Pope Francis arrives to attend his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, on Jan. 26, 2022. The Vatican has on Saturday, March 19 released the document laying out Pope Francis’ long-awaited reform of the Holy See bureaucracy. The 54-page text, entitled “Praedicate Evanglium,” or “Proclaiming the Gospel,” replaces the founding constitution “Pastor Bonus” penned by St. John Paul II in 1988. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

Pope Francis is currently under intense pressure to tackle thousands of reports of paedophilia within the Catholic Church that have surfaced around the world.

The Portuguese inquiry, commissioned by the Church in the staunchly Catholic country, published the results of its investigation after hearing from more than 500 victims.

In October, the team of six experts said it had recorded 424 legitimate accounts from presumed victims but warned that their testimony indicated the total number of victims was “much larger”.

“This testimony allows us to establish a much larger network of victims, at least 4,815,” child psychiatrist Pedro Strecht told a press conference in Lisbon.

The accounts revealed “serious situations which persisted for decades … and in some cases reached epidemic proportions”, it said at the time.

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