Australian priest charged with sexual assault

Associated Press/August 14, 2008

Sydney, Australia - Australian police say they have arrested a Catholic priest and charged him with 30 counts of sexual assault related to abuse allegations dating back three decades.

The 65-year-old clergyman was arrested Thursday. He is accused of assaulting 18 boys between the ages of 11 and 17 during the 1970s and '80s while he served as the priest at a church in Newcastle, 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Sydney.

Police have declined to release the man's identity. They received a complaint about him in April and began investigating.

During a visit last month, Pope Benedict XVI apologized to victims of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy in Australia, describing their acts as "evil" and a grave betrayal that had brought great shame on the church.

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