WARSAW, Poland – Poland’s Catholic Church leaders revealed Thursday they have recorded cases of 382 priests abusing minors since 1990.
The figure includes 198 priests who abused minors under 15 years old and 184 priests who abused others, aged between 15 and 18, according to Wojciech Sadlon, the head of the church’s Institute of Statistics.
The crimes occurred from 1990 through the middle of last year, he told a news conference.
Archbishop Wojciech Polak, the primate of Poland, expressed “pain, shame and the sense of guilt that such situations happened.”
The figures were released following a three-day session of Poland’s Episcopate in Warsaw that discussed abuse and ways of protecting children.
The release came just weeks after Pope Francis convened church leaders from around the world to the Vatican, where they discussed the issue of sex abuse of minors by the clergy.
Church leaders in predominantly Catholic Poland have previously admitted they knew of cases of abuse of minors by priests but did not reveal how many.
A private foundation supporting victims of abuse has given Pope Francis a list of more than 90 court verdicts concerning priests and over 300 cases of alleged abuse.
Recently, a statue of a prominent Solidarity-era priest was removed amid allegations that the late Rev. Henryk Jankowski, respected for his pro-democracy activity in the 1980s, abused minors.
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