The Abuse Crisis Is Global

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The detention of an 83-year-old priest in Brazil for allegedly abusing boys as young as 12 in a case involving lurid videotape and a congressional investigation has added to the scandals hitting the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America. The allegations against Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa - and two other Brazilian priests - have made headlines throughout the world's most populous Catholic nation and come amid accusations of sexual abuse by priests across the world. The scandal erupted when Brazilian television network SBT last month broadcast a tape of Barbosa in bed with a 19-year-old that was widely distributed on the Internet. The station said the video was secretly filmed in January 2009 and sent anonymously to the network. It was not clear if the 19-year-old, identified as a former altar boy who had worked with Barbosa for four years, had previous sexual relations with the priest.

This has now become a huge story in Brazil, a critical country for the church. Even in Africa, where the far-right of the church hopes to stanch its collapse in the secular West, the hierarchy is not immune:

After three young men and a boy told police last June an Italian priest had been sexually molesting them for years at a shelter for poor children, the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in Kenya announced the church would investigate thoroughly. Ten months later, nothing has been investigated by the church, its lawyer says, and the Vatican has not been notified. The accused priest, the Rev. Renato Kizito Sesana, continues to run the facility along with other shelters on the outskirts of Nairobi.

The charges remain unproven. But the lack of any response has generated fury in Kenya.

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