Austrian cardinal silent on sex abuse

A cardinal with the Roman Catholic Church in Austria has been accused of keeping silent about a sexual abuse case when he was a bishop in 1994.

Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna is the target of a lawsuit brought by a woman who charges that the prelate failed to respond to a plea for help.

The 45-year-old woman said that she asked for help in 1994, at a time when the future cardinal was serving as an auxiliary bishop in Vienna.

A spokesman for Cardinal Schonborn said that the cardinal would have taken action if he had heard serious complaints.

He described the meeting between Schonborn and the allegedly molested woman as a confessional conversation.

The spokesman also said that the Klasnic commission, which was established by Schonborn last year, financed therapy sessions for the woman.

Nearly 1,000 people contacted the commission. Nearly three quarters of victims that decided to report to the body are men, according to Die Presse newspaper.

The paper also reports that many of the victims abstained from asking for money but demanded apologies instead.

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