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Australian PM to Formally Apologize to Child Sexual Abuse Victims

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the press at Parliament House in Canberra, Aug. 8, 2017.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he will offer a formal apology later this year to victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

The official apology, which will be delivered on October 22, is the result of a five-year inquiry that gathered testimony from thousands of victims who suffered horrific abuse at churches and state-run institutions, including schools, orphanages and youth groups.

Turnbull said the government will adopt 104 of the 122 recommendations offered by the inquiry, known as the Royal Commission, including establishing a national office for child safety and offer victims financial compensation.

"Now that we've uncovered the shocking truth, we must do everything in our power to honor the bravery of the thousands of people who came forward," Turnbull told reporters in Canberra Wednesday.

Among the 18 recommendations still under consideration is a proposal that would mandate Catholic priests to inform law enforcement of child abuse learned during confession.

The inquiry and Prime Minister Turnbull's subsequent apology coincide with the recent charges of historical sexual offenses brought against Australian Cardinal George Pell. Pell, who is currently on leave from his post as the Vatican's finance minister, was interviewed twice by the commission. He has long been under criticism for his handling of priests accused of sexually abusing children during his years as archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney.

The 76-year-old Pell is the highest-ranked Catholic official to face such charges during the Church's decades-long sexual abuse scandal involving clergy.