Priest investigated for suspected abuse

Swiss News Worldwide/March 22, 2010

A Catholic priest from a village in canton Thurgau has been arrested for the suspected abuse of children, the authorities have said.

Police said on Monday that the investigation into the 40-year-old Swiss was over "acts against the sexual integrity of minors".

Evidence of possible wrongdoing by the man had led to his arrest on Friday, a statement said. More information has since been collected.

This has resulted in heightened suspicions that the man’s behaviour had been "on the borderline of possible criminal acts," police added. Further investigations are being carried out.

The Swiss Bishops Conference says there have been 70 alleged victims of abuse by Catholic priests in Switzerland in the last 15 years. A priest from Chur resigned last week after admitting to sexually abusing children in the 1970s.

Also on Monday, it was confirmed that the abbot of a monastery in Einsiedeln in canton Schwyz had decided to set up an independent inquiry to look into possible cases of sexual abuse there by priests in the past.

The abbot, Martin Werlen, said the inquiry needed to be carried out quickly in order to maintain the credibilty of the monastery and put preventative measures in place. The public should also be informed of the outcome, he said.

The latest developments in Switzerland come amid numerous reports of abuse by Catholic clergy or church employees in Europe.

On Saturday the pope sent a letter to the church in Ireland over the issue, but did not address the problem in other countries.

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