Former priest, 79, accused of sex abuse in Austria

VIENNA (AFP) - Austrian prosecutors on Tuesday charged a 79-year-old former priest of sexually abusing 15 students at a Benedictine monastery between 1973 and 1993.

The monastery, which runs a boarding school, is in the town of Kremsmuenster in northern Austria, the prosecutor's office in nearby Steyr said.

The former priest also faces a charge of illegally possessing a weapon, it said, adding that he faces up to 15 years in prison.

The Austrian Catholic Church, under Vienna Archbishop Christoph Schoenborn, set up a commission in 2000 to conduct independent investigations into allegations of sexual and other abuse committed by members of the Church.

As of April 2012, the commission had probed more than 700 cases, some dating back to the 1960s.

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