DALLAS (CWN) - A Dallas jury convicted a former priest of sexually abusing three boys on Saturday, just days after the accused pleaded guilty on three related charges.

      Rudolph Kos, 52, was found guilty of three counts of aggravated sexual assault and one of indecency with a child. He was acquitted of one indecency count and had pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial to one count of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency with a child. Kos was accused of sexually abusing the boys from 1981 to 1992 at churches in the Diocese of Dallas, after which he left his vocation and moved to San Diego.

      In a civil trial last year, a jury found the diocese guilty of negligence for failing to take steps to stop Kos and awarded the victims $119 million in damages. The figure was subsequently reduced during negotiations between the diocese, the courts, and the victims.

      On the same subject of child abuse, Ireland's leading child protection agency has welcomed an unprecedented apology from the Christian Brothers religious order for years of sexual and other abuse of children at their schools.

      The Christian Brothers issued the apology in half-page advertisements in Sunday's Irish newspapers. The apology followed a number of sex-charge prosecutions of members of the order, which has been deeply involved with the Irish educational system for more than a century.

      The order said in the statement, "We, the Christian Brothers in Ireland, wish to express our deep regret to anyone who suffered ill-treatment while in our care. And we say to you ... who complained of abuse and were not listened to, we are deeply sorry." A spokesman for the order added, "We are putting our hands up and saying this happened. It is painful for all of us." He said the advertisements marked "an acknowledgement of the pain and hurt inflicted on victims."

      The development was described as "a timely watershed" by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The newspaper advertisements also listed telephone numbers in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland for abuse victims to obtain help and counseling. A number of members of the order - founded by Blessed Edmund Rice - are currently awaiting trial on charges of child abuse, some of which date back more than 20 years.

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March 31, 1998 volume 9, no. 64         DAILY CATHOLIC