Pope Benedict XVI defrocked 400 priests over child abuse

VATICAN CITY — In his last two years as pope, Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests for raping and molesting children.

The number is more than twice as many as the two years that preceded a 2010 explosion of sex abuse cases in Europe and beyond.

This information was obtained by The Associated Press and an analysis of Vatican statistics.

The data — 260 priests defrocked in 2011 and 124 in 2012, a total of 384 — represented a dramatic increase over the 171 priests defrocked in 2008 and 2009.

In a related incident, the Philippine Court of Appeals (CA) ordered the Philippine government to send Fernando Sayasaya — who was once a trusted parish priest in wintry Fargo, North Dakota —  back to the United States to face sexual abuse charges filed by two brothers.

In a sensational case last year, a priest took refuge in the bishop’s residence in Butuan City after the priest was accused by his domestic helper of raping her.

Sayasaya is not a unique case. Another US-based Filipino priest fled to the Philippines last October after child pornography was found in his laptop. He had also been accused of stealing from his Massachusetts parish. (GMA)