More than 50 priests in England and Wales have been defrocked for clerical sex abuse since 2001, new figures show.
There have been 55 laicisations since 2001 – meaning they have been evicted from the clergy – after new rules were put in place to protect children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church.
But the Church, which has been rocked by a series of historic abuse scandals, received many more complaints of sexual misconduct against the clergy.
And officials said there were a number of cases involving child abuse images where the victims could not be identified, meaning the number of overall victims may be much higher.
There was an increase in the number of perpetrators subject to “covenants of care”, essentially withdrawing them from ministering and severely restricting what they could do in the Church, from 384 at the end of 2013 to 462 at the end of 2014.
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