Catholic child abuse scandals boil around the world

Another priest has been arrested In Germany — where the pope is due to make a controversial visit in September — and has admitted sexually abusing three boys over the past four years.

“There are three young boys that are suspected of being sexually abused by the priest as recently as 2007,” said police spokesman Joachim Grande in the north German town of Braunschweig. “The suspect has substantially admitted to the accusations during police examination.”

Investigators are also re-examining the 2006 death of a 25-year-old man at the priest’s apartment that was ruled a suicide, in the light of the suspected abuse, police said.

Police said they are looking into information that the 46-year-old priest, who is currently in custody, may have abused children as late as 2006. They have set up a special investigation commission called “Peccantia,” Latin for “sin”. The investigation had been running since early July, police said. The priest’s arrest had been planned for this week but police moved in on Saturday as he was about to go on a church-organised trip with minors.

The magazine Christ & Welt reported that the number of people quitting the Church surpassed the total of those leaving main Protestant churches for the first time in post-war Germany.

Meanwhile, in Australia, Maitland-Newcastle Catholic diocese is paying an “unprecedented” cost for failing to stop serial paedophile priests over decades, with at least $13 million compensation to the victims of two child sex abusers and the certainty of further claims. In the past year, the diocese is believed to have paid more than $7 million to victims of John Sidney Denham, surpassing the $6 million it paid to victims of Vince Ryan. The Ryan compensation was believed to be one of the highest total payouts by the church in Australia to the victims of a single priest.

The diocese has also paid an unknown amount, believed to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, to a small number of victims of serial child sex abuser Denis McAlinden since 2001, and another undisclosed but significant sum to a victim of convicted child sex abuser and Catholic lay teacher Tony Bambach. In all four cases the church paid a greater financial penalty after proof it knew the priests and teacher were child sex abusers but failed to stop them.