German Catholic Priest Indicted on 267 Counts of Child Sexual Assault

A 46-year-old German Catholic priest has been indicted on 267 counts of sexual contact with children in the town of Salzgitter where he ran a parish, according to BNO News.

The priest, who was unnamed, is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting three boys between the ages of 5 and 9 since 2004.

Blame is being directed toward church officials for not taking action after learning that the priest spent the night with a boy in his bed, but the Diocese of Hildesheim said it did not realize what was happening because no allegations of sexual misconduct had been brought forth at that time.

The priest was later arrested after the boy's family complained, and he was ordered not to have any further contact with the boy.

Prosecutors said the man has confessed to the charges and was being evaluated by a psychologist.

The priest has been in pre-trial custody since July, but no date has yet been set for the trial.

The Catholic Church has a long history of church officials coming under fire for allegations of sex crimes committed against children. While the United States has had the highest number of reported cases, other countries where the issue has become widespread include Ireland, Australia, Canada, and parts of Europe.

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI was implicated in an alleged cover-up of a Wisconsin sex abuse scandal that occurred when he served as a cardinal in 1996. It is estimated that the priest the Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican officials allegedly protected molested over 200 deaf boys.

The Catholic Church in Germany has also faced a series of allegations within the past year of sexual abuse as well as brutal corporal punishments being carried out by clergy on children within the past 60 years.

The church has issued "financial compensation to hundreds of victims," according to BNO News.