Groups blast Vatican before UN panel
Groups blast Vatican before UN panel
Victims & advocates file detailed new complaint
Top Catholic officials will soon be questioned in Geneva
A similar UN panel harshly criticized church after first such hearing
This time, it's the Committee Against Torture looking at church hierarchy
Groups document on-going Catholic child sex abuse scandal as 'acts of torture'
Their goal: to “expose, punish & deter widespread & systematic sexual violence”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, leaders of an abuse victims’ support group and a human rights organization will disclose and discuss their new formal complaint to a United Nations panel that sharply criticizes top Catholic officials for enabling and concealing sexual violence.
Next month in Geneva, Vatican officials will appear in person before that panel.
Monday, April 14 at 1:00 p.m.
Outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Ave (between 50th & 51st) in Manhattan
Four-six members of two groups - an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) and the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
Next month in Geneva, the UN Committee on Torture will question Vatican officials on their compliance with an international treaty condemning and forbidding torture.
Representatives of SNAP and CCR are formally making a detailed and extensive complaint to the UN Committee. The 80+ page submission documents a systematic, widespread and on-going global practice of concealing rape and abuse, tolerated and enabled by the Vatican and shows how these acts constitute torture.
The jurisdiction of the UN Committee Against Torture names rape as a form of torture. Top Catholic officials signed and ratified the Convention on Torture nearly 15 years ago. By doing this, they legally agreed to uphold the rights and regulations laid out in the treaty.
The Vatican is now being called by the committee for its periodic review on how they have implemented the treaty.
SNAP and CCR’s submission shows the role played by Vatican officials in the on-going protection of perpetrators, the hiding of crimes and the enabling of rape, sexual assault, and torture of thousands of innocent children and vulnerable adults around the world.
In January, Vatican officials were called before the Committee on the Rights of the Child, also in Geneva, for their periodic review under another UN treaty which top church officials also signed. A month later, that committee released a long and scathing report on how the Catholic hierarchy is refusing to protect children and stop the systematic and widespread cover ups. The report attracted worldwide attention.
In that report, the committee urged church officials to “immediately remove all known and suspected child sexual abusers from assignment and (contact) relevant law enforcement authorities for investigation and prosecution.” It also noted that on “numerous occasions,” the Vatican “has refused to cooperate with law enforcement authorities and to disclose information requested by prosecutors and national commissions of inquiry.”
A copy of the new UN filing, submitted late last Friday, is available at the CCR website, CCRjustice.org. The hearing in Geneva will be May 5 and 6.
David Clohessy, SNAP (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Pam Spees, CCR (212 614 6464, firstname.lastname@example.org), Jen Nessell, CCR (212 614 6464, Jnessel@ccrjustice.org, Mary Caplan, SNAP (917 439 4187, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris, SNAP (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine, SNAP (312 399 4747, SNAPblaime@gmail.com)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.