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Paedophile priests to be treated in safe houses

Catholic and Anglican clergymen in the UK jailed for sexual offences are to be treated in halfway houses after their release.

The safe houses, at undisclosed locations, will cost about $A1383 a week and be financed by parishes from both Churches. The move follows growing criticism that both Churches have failed to address the issue of child sexual abuse.

Allegations of child abuse have damaged the reputation and trust of both Churches over the past five years and many leading clergymen have been accused of failing to root out paedophiles. More than 50 priests and lay preachers are currently in jail for offences against children.

Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, was accused of failing to act against a paedophile when he was Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

Ray Wyre, Britain's foremost paedophile counsellor, who is setting up the homes, said: "The Churches recognise that offending priests have specific problems as they struggle with their faith, their guilt and confront the damage they have inflicted."

A spokesman for Bishop Christopher Budd, the Catholic Church's leading expert on paedophilia, said: "This will extend the Church's duty of care and help our former priests to become better people."

But Margaret Kennedy, from Ministers and Clergy Victims of Sexual Abuse Survivors, said: "When are the Churches going to establish a centre for the abused? They have forgotten who really suffers."

Nolan Review

Telegraph (London)