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Wed Apr 16 09:18:36 SAST 2014

Lutherans find voice from Catholic scandal

Sapa-AFP | 20 April, 2010 12:440 Comments

Publicity around paedophilia in the Catholic Church has prompted victims of sexual abuse in Finland's Evangelical Lutheran Church to speak out, the Finnish church says.

"Some of these cases are very old," Martti Esko, director of family issues at the church council, told AFP, adding that cases had "emerged from different parts of the country."

"Some of these have already expired legally, some are being investigated and for some there have been convictions. Clearly this issue has now emerged," Esko said, but declined to speculate on the number of cases that had come out.

The church said in a statement issued on Monday that it had become aware of "some cases" of sexual child abuse since scandals involving paedophile priests began rattling Catholic Church communities across the western world.

Esko said the statement, which called for an end to the culture of silence that surrounds paedophilia and domestic violence, was released to encourage more open discussion and enable victims to speak out about abuse.

"Pastors are hardly involved in the (reported) cases (in Finland)," Esko said, adding that the church had since 2003 required criminal background checks on all staff working with children.

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