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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Australia makes child sex arrests
By Red Harrison
BBC, Sydney

Police in Australia have arrested nine men, including two former ministers of the Anglican Church, on charges of sexual abuse against children.

One of the former priests has appeared before a court in the South Australian city of Adelaide charged with offences against a victim aged 12.

The man was remanded until September. Police and Church authorities said they expected more men would be arrested.

All nine are accused of sexual offences against children up to 50 years ago.

One of the accused is 78 years old. The others include two former ministers, two officers of the Salvation Army and two former leaders of a church youth group.

Police Superintendent Grant Stevens, who heads a special task force investigating offences against children, says up to 60 people have yet to be questioned and more arrests are expected.

Ten days ago the Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Reverend Ian George, resigned after a church committee criticised his handling of church abuse allegations.

Congregations throughout Adelaide on Sunday heard a strongly worded apology and a prayer for forgiveness from members of the church diocese.

A statement read in all churches said "we apologise for the shameful way we have worked against and discouraged those who have come to us and reported abuse. We are ashamed to have to acknowledge we took notice only when the survivors of abuse became a threat to us".

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