Spain PM Pedro Sanchez. | J.CASARES

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Spain's ruling Socialist Party proposed this afternoon creating an independent commission headed by the country's ombudsman to investigate sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Church staff.


The commission would include experts, victims' associations and the clergy and it would submit a report to the government and the judicial system, Hector Gomez, spokesperson for the Socialist group in the lower house, said.

Suspected abuse of children has been in the spotlight in the country since El Pais newspaper reported it found 1,200 cases two months ago - leading to several proposed means of investigation without any yet fully starting to delve into the allegations and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Last month, the conference of bishops announced it would set up commissions at diocese level to hear complaints from abuse victims..

Last week, the public prosecutor gave its regional offices 10 days to provide the results of judicial investigations while parliament approved eventually holding a vote on whether to set up its own investigation into the issue after a proposal by some small leftist parties.

The socialists, which rule in a minority coalition with junior partner far-left Unidas Podemos, filed a request to parliament on Monday to drum up support from other political groups for creating the ombudsman-led commission.

Minister Felix Bolanos, who handles government relations with the Church, told Cadena Ser radio station the government wanted to protect the victims, ensuring they are heard in a friendly and confidential environment.

"Some victims rightfully want to make their story public ..., but there may be dozens of victims who don't want to make their story public because it is too painful," Bolanos said.
Other parties back the proposed public investigation in parliament precisely to shed light on the all the alleged abuses and possible cover ups.