Molesting Priests

April 5, 2002

Church should turn in child molesting priests: US poll

ASSOCIATED FREE PRESS - Ninety-seven per cent of US Catholics think the church should turn priests accused of molesting children over to police, according to a nationwide poll published today.

In addition, 66 per cent of Roman Catholics responding to an ABC News/Washington Post poll disapprove of the way the church hierarchy has handled the allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

The Roman Catholic Church has recently been plagued by a spate of lawsuits and allegations that it covered up sexual abuse by priests by moving the accused to new parishes, by paying off the accusers and by convincing judges to seal the case files on priests accused of preying on children.

It was the Church's attempt to cover up the accusations for as many as 40 years -- instead of attempting to prevent recurring incidents -- that earned Catholics' disapproval, the Post reported.

Of all Catholics, 45 per cent "strongly" disproved of the church's handling of the problem. As the scandal unfolded, Catholics' favourable opinion of the church fell to 73 per cent, from 88 per cent in February.

Of the overall US population, just 45 per cent had a favourable view of the church.

The poll of 1,086 adults between March 25 and 28 had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 per cent.

İAAP 2002

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