Socialites calls for probe of child abuse by clergy that Spain church and government refused to investigate

Until now, there has never been an official investigation into alleged abuse by members of the clergy, either by the government in Madrid or by the Spanish church itself.

The committee – made up of “experts, representatives of victims’ associations, clergy and public officials” – would compile “the most comprehensive” study of the issue, party spokesman Hector Gomez told reporters.

The panel would report to the state ombudsman.

The aim was to “address an issue which we can no longer afford to ignore… while also demonstrating maximum empathy and fairness to the victims,” said Socialist lawmaker Carmen Calvo.

With a total absence of official figures on child sex abuse within the Spanish church, El Pais newspaper began investigating allegations in 2018 and has since received details of 1,246 cases, some dating back to the 1930s.

The Church, which has ruled out any exhaustive investigation and says it has implemented abuse protocols and set up local offices for complaints, has only recognised 220 cases over the past 20 years.

But the situation appears to be changing in this historically religious country, where some 55 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic and where 1.5 million children study in some 2,500 Catholic schools.

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