New Catholic priest abuse allegations aired in New Zealand

Sept. 16, 2013 at 5:07 PM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The Roman Catholic Church has accepted as valid five new complaints of child abuse by priests and other officials in New Zealand, officials said.

The most recent allegations were made beginning in June. In four instances, victims reported having been sexually abused by priests, one of whom has already been convicted of child molestation in a separate case, The Dominion Post said Tuesday. The fifth allegation is over neglect by nuns at a boarding school.

Bill Kilgallon, head of the church's national office handling abuse allegations in the country, said the five complaints had been investigated and accepted as valid. The incidents took place from the 1960s to the 1980s. All the alleged perpetrators except the one who was previously convicted are dead, the Post said.

Kilgallon said there will almost certainly be more allegations in the coming months. Neighboring Australia has established a national commission on institutional child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army and the Anglican Church. Testimony there will almost certainly deal with groups that operated in both countries.

Commission hearings began Monday though the portion dealing with the Catholic Church isn't scheduled until December.

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