The Associated Press is reporting tonight that a document it has obtained indicates that Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for sexually molesting children.
According to the report the statistics for 2011 and 2012 "show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Prior to that, it had only publicly revealed the number of alleged cases of sexual abuse it had received and the number of trials it had authorized."
The existence of the document came up during the testimony of Vatican officials before a U.N. committee on child welfare this week in Geneva. The AP reports that the document was prepared from data the Vatican had been collecting and "was compiled to help the Holy See defend itself before a U.N. committee this week in Geneva. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's U.N. ambassador in Geneva, referred to just one of the statistics in the course of eight hours of oftentimes pointed criticism and questioning from the U.N. human rights committee.'
Read the rest of the report here.