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German bishops expand sex abuse rules

Germany's Roman Catholic bishops are requiring that suspected cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy or others working for the church be reported to prosecutors.

Germany's Roman Catholic bishops are requiring that suspected cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy or others working for the church be reported to prosecutors.

The new, expanded guidelines were released Tuesday in response to hundreds of allegations of abuse at the hands of clergy that emerged earlier this year, rocking the church in Germany — Pope Benedict XVI's homeland.

The guidelines are to enter into force on Wednesday.

They also call for each diocese to have an ombudsman who is not part of its leadership as a first point of contact in suspected abuse cases, and for anyone working with children or youths to show proof of good conduct.

The Bishops Conference said in April it would rework its guidelines amid criticism that it did not go far enough in involving law enforcement officials.

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