For now, Vatican officials will not face criminal charges

For now, Vatican officials will not face criminal charges

ICC prosecutor may reconsider with 'new facts or information'

SNAP: “We’ll keep bringing forward proof of church complicity

A prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has determined that, for now, no charges will be filed against top Catholic officials for “crimes against humanity.” But victims of clergy sex abuse say they’ll continue to collect evidence and “build the record” of “ongoing child sex crimes and cover ups” by bishops across the globe and are confident the ICC will eventually investigate and prosecute the church hierarchy.

In September  2011, leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and CCR, the Center for Constitutional Rights, filed a formal, 71 page complaint –– supported by more than more than 22,000 pages of supporting materials  -  with the ICC.

The complaint charges four Vatican prelates – Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, former Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, former Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith head Cardinal William Levada and the now-retired Pope Benedict - with “enabling and concealing sexual violence worldwide.”

In April 2012, in a separate filing, the groups submitted several thousand more pages of documentation to the ICC.

But in a two page letter, dated May 31, the prosecutor’s office says some of the alleged (offenses) do not meet the “preconditions of the court” and thus “do not appear to fall within the (court’s) jurisdiction,” though the office may reconsider this decision in light of "new facts or information." In the letter, the prosecutor suggests that SNAP also consider approaching courts in individual countries.

“We’re neither deterred nor discouraged by this news,” said Barbara Blaine of SNAP. “We are confident that the ICC will see sufficient evidence that high ranking Catholic officials are still knowingly enabling predators to harm and endanger children across the world, while concealing these heinous crimes even more effectively.”

“We are honored to represent survivors who have shown extraordinary courage for so many years," said Pam Spees, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (212-614-6431, PSpees@ccrjustice.org). "We will continue to work alongside SNAP to build the evidentiary record to bring an end to the culture of impunity that still prevails around these crimes. Ensuring there is justice for survivors and accountability for those responsible for perpetuating this abuse is critical to protect children around the world from rap