35 abuse claims against 10 priests
A report into child abuse in the Dromore Diocese of the Catholic Church has found 35 allegations were levelled against 10 priests dating back to 1975.
The report also revealed no convictions have been made, but the cases have been reported to the police and social services.
Bishop John McAreavey addressed Mass-goers at Newry Cathedral where he expressed his sorrow over the mistreatment of children and the Catholic Church's handling of the cases.
The report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church said three of the accused priests had died.
Of the remaining seven, the report said all are "out of ministry", but added that three "exercise limited ministry under tightly controlled and restricted conditions and never to children or young people".
Bishop McAreavey told Mass-goers: "In the past generation we have lived through a time when trust between churchgoers and church leaders has been badly damaged.
"The disclosures in report after report that children and young people had been abused in our church and the inadequate response of church leaders have caused deep distress and dismay. My thoughts today are particularly with these women and men and again I express to them my deepest sorrow for what they experienced."
Bishop McAreavey has been in post since 1999 in the diocese that covers Newry and parts of Armagh, and the audit said "most of the cases examined were managed under his leadership".
However, it was critical of the handling of cases under his predecessor Bishop Francis Brooks who died last year. The report said: "We do not intend to dwell on the management practices of the former bishop, but it should be noted that, from our review of the case records from that time, we believe that in some instances the practice followed placed too much emphasis on maintaining the good name of the accused priest rather than ensuring the safety of children."
The report made 12 recommendations on handling abuse allegations and dealing with victims. Bishop McAreavey said he accepted all the recommendations and said that most were already in place, while the remaining points were to be implemented.