Spanish order says it has reported case of alleged child abuse to authorities

MADRID (AP) — A Catholic order in Spain says it has reported to Spanish prosecutors allegations that one of its monks abused a minor.

The Barefoot Carmelites order said Tuesday it told authorities in Valencia about the allegations, but gave no details, including whether they involved sexual abuse.

The bishop's office for the diocese of Segorbe-Castellon in the Valencia region of eastern Spain said the allegations involve a monk from that order.

"The bishop expresses concern over the events that have been reported, which, if true, are unacceptable for the Church and society," the diocese said. "He also shares the pain of the victim, his parents and family, and asks for their forgiveness."

El Mundo newspaper said this is the first time a Catholic church group in Spain has acted on an appeal that Pope Benedict XVI issued in March for church officials to report abuse cases to the authorities.

In Madrid, the Spanish Bishops Conference declined to comment.

Spain has been largely spared in the church sex abuse scandal that has rocked other European countries such as Germany and Ireland.

El Mundo said the Spanish case involves a monk who allegedly sexually abused an altar boy a few years ago in the town of Burriana. At the time the youth was 17, it says.

Since then, the monk has been reassigned far away from Burriana, the paper said.