Monday, April 21, 2008

Pope's visit prompts new claims of clergy abuse

Pope visit prompts new claims of abuse by priests, by Steve Ritea. Newsday April 21, 2008:

The pope's visit and his acknowledging sexual abuse by priests within the church has prompted dozens of people to come forward and claim they were molested as children, the president of a victim support group said yesterday.

"We've been inundated with calls," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a national organization. "Several are saying that they never told anyone."

Any media coverage of the issue often prompts new people to come forward, Blaine said, noting several hundred calls her organization received in 2002, when America's Catholic bishops approved a toughened sex abuse policy after scores of molestation charges against priests became public.

In his address to the nation's Catholic bishops Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI said that the sexual abuse scandal had been "very badly handled." The pope met later with victims of clergy sexual abuse, in a historic visit.