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Paedophilia suspicions at monastery confirmed

An investigative panel looking into cases of sexual abuse at the monastery in Einsiedeln says 15 monks were guilty of offences over the past 60 years.

On Thursday, the panel said there were about 40 victims at the monastery in central Switzerland.

Nine of the monks sexually abused under-aged children, said the panel, which was commissioned by the Einsiedeln abbot, Martin Werlen.

Most of the cases involved three monks who committed the acts in the 1960s and 70s. The monastery introduced preventive measures in 1998 and only one case has come to light since then. No prosecutions are possible in any of the cases as they are too old.

When the monastery discovered the cases, it reacted by transferring, suspending or separating the monks, but never lodging formal complaints. However, one victim filed six complaints.

Werlen said he was shocked by the large number of cases and said it was no longer a taboo at the monastery to discuss the issue of sexual abuse. He apologised to the victims.

For the first time last year, the Catholic Church in Switzerland compiled detailed statistics of cases of sexual abuse committed by priests and other pastoral workers.

Dioceses received reports of 15 victims and 14 offenders in 2009. From January to May 2010 there were reports of 104 victims of 72 offenders.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR