A regional province of the Capuchin religious order that had fought allegations of sexual abuse for decades decided last year to open its files dating to the 19th century to three independent auditors, in what the order claimed to be a first in the long-running Roman Catholic Church abuse scandal in the United States.The auditors’ report, released on Tuesday, found that sexual abuse by friars in the St. Joseph Province of the Capuchin Order was discussed at meetings as far back as 1932, the first year for which minutes of meetings were available.After more than a dozen students at the province’s St. Lawrence Seminary in Wisconsin accused nine friars of abuse in 1992, it cost the province’s insurer nearly a million dollars — but 89 percent of that went to lawyers to defend the Capuchins and only 11 percent to victims for settlements and therapy, the report said....
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