A Congo teen alleged rape by a priest. She had to flee. He can still say Mass.

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KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo — The 14-year-old girl returned on the back of a motorbike to the convent where she lived and studied. Sobbing and in pain, she pulled aside a nun.

The girl said she’d just been raped by the priest who dropped her off.

The nun, Henriette Okitanunga, tried to comfort the girl. She said she then followed the new rule laid out by Pope Francis for handling such a report: She alerted her superior to a possible crime.

After clerical abuse scandals that have rocked much of the Catholic world — generally in nations with the resources to pressure and expose the church — attention is turning to regions where the scale of abuse remains both a mystery and a cause for trepidation. The Vatican’s hope is that bishops in the developing world, trained in new guidelines, can avoid the mistakes that have so badly damaged the Roman Catholic Church elsewhere.

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