Spanish court probes allegations group of priests abused man
A Spanish court has launched a sexual abuse investigation after a man sent a complaint to the Vatican alleging a group of priests molested him as a boy, officials said Monday.
The alleged abuse happened in the southern Spanish city of Granada and prompted authorities to open a probe targeting 12 people, though it was not clear if all those under investigation are clergyman, a judicial source told AFP.
Pope Francis "forced the opening of an enquiry into abuse in this diocese", according to religious news site ReligionDigital.
According to judicial sources, Criminal Court number four in Granada opened the investigation in the beginning of November.
The Archdiocese of Granada said it had suspended an undisclosed number of priests while it waits for the results of the court probe and has sent the conclusions of its own internal inquiry to the Vatican.
"As soon as it was reliably informed of the accusation made to the Holy See by a youth from Granada, of having suffered sexual abuse by a group of priests from the diocese, this Archdiocese has scrupulously followed the procedure for these cases," it said in a statement.
"The vast majority of priests exercise their ministry in an exemplary way," and the archdiocese was "extremely pained by scandals of this nature, whose certainty and scope will ultimately be decided by judicial authorities".
Pope Francis has moved to crack down on priests who sexually abuse children, but critics say the Vatican is moving too slowly to decide the ultimate fate of these priests.
The Church is sensitive to charges, levied by both the United Nations and thousands of abuse victims, that, for years, it instinctively protected serial sex offenders within the clergy.
Church tribunals have resulted in the defrocking of nearly 850 priest for sex abuse in the last decade, during which time hundreds of millions have been paid to settle compensation claims by victims of abuse.
© 2014 AFP