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Abuse: Germany, Netherlands, Austria – Switzerland

Swiss media: 60 people report abuses by priests

GENEVA — Around 60 people have reported being victims of abuse by Catholic priests in Switzerland, a Swiss abbot said in an interview published by a newspaper Saturday.

Abbot Martin Werlen of the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln said some of the allegations were reported to the Swiss Bishops Conference’s commission on abuses, according to Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung. Werlen indicated that others were reported to different dioceses.

Werlen, who is a member of the commission on abuses at the Bishops Conference, did not specify where the alleged cases occurred or when they might have happened.

Neue Zuercher Zeitung said on its Web site the 60 alleged cases happened over the last 15 years.

Werlen acknowledged in the interview that some of the alleged abuses may have happened at the school of the Einsiedeln abbey.

“I’ve tried to address the cases I knew of and tried to process them,” he was quoted as saying.

Werlen could not be reached for comment, but Father Urban of the Abbey of Einsiedeln confirmed the authenticity of the interview.

The Bishops Conference’s commission on abuses was set up in 2002 and has been looking into alleged abuses since, Werlen said, according to the interview.

Switzerland needs a central contact point coordinating different bodies dealing with such allegations, he was quoted as saying.

Werlen’s statement was the latest report of abuse by Catholic clergy or church employees in Europe, which has recently seen new allegations of sexual and physical abuse in Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

(Associated Press)

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