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Controversial Catholic group apologizes to sex-abuse victims

Feb. 6, 2014 at 1:24 PM

VATICAN CITY, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A Catholic church group that had been tainted by allegations of sexual abuse issued an apology to victims on Thursday.

The Legionaries of Christ said in a statement it regretted the incidents that fueled a scandal involving the organization, which Italy's ANSA news service said had enjoyed close ties with Pope John Paul II.

"We want to express our deep sorrow for the abuse of minor seminarians, the immoral acts with men and women who were adults," the statement said.

The statement apologized for brushing off allegations that dated back to the 1980s and resulted in the group being placed under Vatican oversight in 2010, two years after the death of its founder, priest Marcial Maciel.

ANSA said the charismatic Maciel and John Paul II were close friends. Maciel was stripped of his role in the Latin America-based group by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.

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