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Francis George

Child abuse in church found to mirror society

An increase in reported incidents of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in recent decades mirrors a jump in such incidents in society as a whole, according to preliminary findings by researchers hired by the Catholic Church to find answers to the abuse crisis.

The findings, released yesterday at the Fall Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, worried advocates for abuse victims, who said they hoped that sexual abuse by priests would not be played down just because other members of society did the same.

"We believe that bishops and priests should be above reproach," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network...