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Catholic churches are full of atmosphere at Christmas.

Irish Catholic Church sex scandal tied to American abuse cases, group charges

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Catholic churches are full of atmosphere at Christmas.

Victims of clergy sex abuse in the United States and a group that tracks pedophile priests are calling on American Roman Catholic leaders and the Irish Government to publicly detail known connections between the clergy abuse scandals in the two countries.

Four bishops in Ireland have resigned since the Ryan Report revealed how Dublin Archdiocese leaders had covered-up the crimes of pedophile priests.

The group, BishopAccountability.org, says it has created the first comprehensive, web-based database of accused Irish priests who also have worked in the U.S. The group has asked Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin to reveal the names of any any priests accused of sexual abuse after being transferred from Ireland.

Bishopaccountability.org also revealed the names of almost 70 priests accused of sexual abuse it says were either born in Ireland or are of Irish descent, and who came to the United States and continued to be sex-abusers. Its website has pages that also names the priests, and others, who it says have been accused of sexual abuse.

The group has also asked Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen for a list of accused Irish priests who have moved to U.S. dioceses or parishes.

"Bishops in Ireland just like bishops here have been moving accused priests around even though they know they are dangerous," said Terence McKiernan, founder of BishopAccountability.org. "Unfortunately the places where they put them include our own backyard. So the Irish crisis, basically has become our crisis, too."

Standing in front of O'Malley's Boston residence on Monday, members and supporters of BishopAccountablity.org said the Irish scandal is deeply linked to the U.S. crisis because priests trained in Irish seminaries are often sent to work in America, including ones with histories of sex abuse.

The Boston Archdiocese said it is committed to doing "everything in our power to protect children from the threat of sexual abuse." It said news from the raging scandal in Ireland serves as a "painful reminder."

"Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Ireland who have been harmed by the tragic reality of sexual abuse of children by clergy," the statement said. "We know from our own experience the profound impact and suffering caused by the harm perpetrated on children and young people. Over the past decade, we have worked diligently to respond to this crisis and ensure it is never repeated."

The Providence Archdiocese did not issue any statement in response to the nonprofit group's demands.

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