Church to keep sex record

The Catholic church in South Africa is investigating ways of recording incidences of sexual misconduct by its personnel.

Spokesperson Allan Schwarer said on Friday the church would meet over the next few weeks to discuss the matter.

"As regards statistical and personal data on the incidence of allegations of misconduct we consider it desirable that data be collected centrally," he said.

Since no records currently existed it was impossible to tell whether incidences of sexual misconduct in the church was on the rise or not, he said.

The church's primary concern in dealing with such cases was the protection of the victims.

"In general the church considers that in certain circumstances it has a moral duty to go beyond the requirements of criminal law," he said.

Schwarer said the church was not bound by criminal law in that if a court found an alleged perpetrator innocent the church could still take action.

"Whether a victim lays a charge or not, or whether the case is brought to court or not, or whether the accused is found guilty or not, the church will pursue the matter at an administrative level in accordance with moral imperatives and in terms of its own laws."