11 Nov 2012

Church to release files on sex abuse to Australian inquiry

9:07 am on 11 November 2012

The Catholic Church in Australia will release internal files on child sexual abuse within the clergy after a request from Victoria's parliamentary inquiry into child abuse.

Victims' advocates have been pressuring the inquiry to use its powers to obtain the church's own files, arguing they are crucial to finding out what church leaders knew about widespread abuse by priests and brothers, the ABC reports.

On Friday, the committee revealed it had asked the church to hand over those documents. A church spokesperson says it will cooperate with the inquiry.

Earlier, the parliamentary inquiry heard shocking claims that decades ago, two boys had died at the hands of paedophiles at orphanages run by a Catholic order in Melbourne.

Dr Wayne Chamley, a researcher with the child protection group Broken Rites, said a group of religious brothers abused boys at orphanages run by the Hospitaller Order of St John of God.

Dr Chamley alleged the crimes that took place went beyond sexual abuse and believes two boys died while in the care of the order.