Groups urge Pope to open abuse files
UN panel pushes Vatican for information
SNAP & CCR call request “unprecedented”
Victims and advocates are encouraged by the move
Two organizations charge that Catholic officials violate treaty
At a sidewalk news conference, surrounded by signs and childhood photos, victims and advocates will
--applaud a United Nations committee for demanding detailed information from the Vatican about clergy sex crimes and cover ups across the globe,
--prod Pope Francis to provide all of the information promptly,
--urge other secular authorities to launch similar efforts to hold Catholic officials responsible for the church’s ongoing refusal to stop sexual violence by clergy, and
--beg anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups to report to independent sources (police, prosecutors, NGOs).
They will also explain why they believe international bodies should do more to investigate the crisis of sexual violence within the Catholic church and will discuss other recent efforts to do so.
Tuesday, July 16 at 1:00 p.m.
Outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 460 Madison Ave, New York
Leaders of two non-profit groups – the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)
Last week, in an unprecedented move, the Geneva-based United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child released a detailed, four page list of information it wants Vatican officials to disclose about clergy sex crimes and cover ups and how Catholic officials are dealing with them. The panel set a November 1 deadline. In January, in a session that will be telecast live, Vatican staffers are expected to meet in person with the Committee to answer further questions.
The panel is charged with overseeing the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty signed by almost every nation on earth. The Convention is a “legally binding international instrument” that “incorporate[s] the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights” for children (http://www.unicef.org/crc/).
Despite ratifying the Convention in 1990, the Vatican has largely ignored its reporting requirements and is violating its principle tenets, CCR and SNAP charge.
The Committee is asking for details about specific scandals, including the Legion of Christ, the selling and taking of babies in Spain for secret adoptions, and the “torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and of subjection to force labour” of girls and women in the Magdalene laundries in Ireland. Some are US cases, including the “follow up given to the findings of the Philadelphia grand jury which reportedly revealed that archdiocesan officials fired a nun from her position after she complained about a priest who was still ministering to children despite a conviction for possession of child pornography.”
The Committee also seeks “detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns,” “measures taken to avoid retaliation against child victims,” and whether gag orders are still being required in clergy sex cases.
In February, CCR and SNAP submitted a 40 page “shadow report” to the UN’s CRC providing outlining abuse and cover up cases in dozens of countries that show church officials are still ignoring, minimizing and enabling child molesting clerics. The Vatican had submitted its second report to the Committee in October 2012.
Last month, representatives of CCR and SNAP met in Geneva for three hours with the UN panel, which is chaired by Kirsten Sandberg of Norway.
SNAP is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. It has existed for 23 years and has more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in its title, it has members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Visit www.snapnetwork.org.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org; follow @theCCR.
Jen Nessel of CCR - 917 442 0112, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago