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Abbott defends Church on sex abuse

Workplace Relations Minster Tony Abbott has defended sex scandals in the Catholic Church, saying pedophilia is no more prevalent there than in other organisations.

But under grilling from college students yesterday, the former seminarian admitted the church had put itself before victims.

"These problems haven't always been dealt with in the past, and if you go back in time there certainly was a tendency to look at the reputation of the church ahead of these damaged individuals," Mr Abbott said.

But it is not just religious organisations which must to deal with sex crimes.

"All institutions that deal with young people have sadly had a small percentage of these people who shouldn't be there, and that's true of schools, that's true of the military, that's true of sporting associations," he said.

"Let's not bind up the (Catholic) Church as the only organisation which sees this."

Mr Abbott is the fourth federal MP to be put under the spotlight in the National Museum of Australia's talkback classroom, beamed around the nation via the ABC's youth radio Triple J.

Talkback Classroom

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26 Jun 2002