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LONDON (AP) - Only 12 of the hundreds of staff members accused of child abuse in Ireland's Christian Brothers order since the mid-1970s have been convicted, the watchdog of the country's Catholic Church said Tuesday.
The report from the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church looked into how the Christian Brothers, a Catholic order set up to run schools, handled abuse allegations. It said although abuse claims were made against 325 of the order's officials since 1975, only a dozen were convicted of crimes.
It was the latest setback for the Christian Brothers, whose history of running schools for boys across Ireland dates back to the early 1800s. The order's reputation has been damaged in recent years by the revelation of widespread child abuse in Irish Catholic institutions.
Cardinal Sean Brady, the leader of Ireland's 4 million Catholics who himself was widely criticized for being implicated in covering up the abuse of children, said he is "truly sorry" and that his thoughts are with abuse victims.
"I pray for you and will work to ensure that you are supported on your journey towards healing and peace," he said.
The report was released along with a series of others on dioceses around Ireland. In the Armagh Archdiocese, run by Brady, the watchdog reported that there was a lack of records on allegations made before 1995. It said the situation has improved since then and praised Brady for the improved safeguarding of children.