- Victims blast Vatican in new United Nations filing
- In 30 page document, they say church breaks UN convention
- SNAP says top Catholic officials submit one report 14 years later
- Group accuses Holy See of falling short on prevention & extradition
Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, two clergy sex abuse victims who are long time leaders of an international support group for victims will disclose and discuss a new 30 page filing (available here!) calling on a United Nations committee to act against Catholic officials for multiple alleged violations of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (which was ratified by the Vatican).
Thursday, February 28 at 2 p.m.
Orange Hotel, 86, Via Crescenzio, 00193 Roma (St. Peter)
Two clergy sex abuse victims who are leaders of the US-based international support group SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time director
SNAP is filling a new 30 page report with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that is highly critical of the Vatican’s past and current handling of clergy sex crimes and cover ups. It’s the first time SNAP is making a formal appeal to the UN for help with the crisis. (The CRC oversees compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1990.)
Later this year, the CRC will question Vatican officials on their compliance/non-compliance with the Convention. The CRC will then report publicly on its concluding observations.
The Vatican ratified the Convention in 1990 (under Pope John Paul II). In 1994, in its first report to the CRC, the Vatican made no mention whatsoever of the issue of clergy sex abuse though even then, top church officials had extensive knowledge about pedophile priests and complicit bishops around the world.
In 1997, the Vatican’s second report to the CRC was due. It was finally submitted about 14 years late. (And the Vatican is ten years late in filing its first required report under a similar agreement called the “Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, which was due in 2003.)
The CRC’s 18 members – all human rights experts – will meet in Geneva in June. SNAP will ask to be able to present direct, in-person testimony to the committee.
SNAP and CCR contend that the Vatican has violated requirements to 1) “cooperation with criminal investigations and extradition proceedings” (and has actually done the opposite), “adequately provide for the protection of the rights of child victims and witnesses” 3) “provide for rehabilitation, compensation and prevention measures to protect children from these offences,” and 4) “genuinely encourage and participate in international cooperation in the areas of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution and punishment of those responsible” particularly when the offenders are members of its own clergy.
Among other reforms, the SNAP/CCR submission recommends that independent specialists perform background checks and psychological assessments of clerics/seminarians and that ecclesiastical clergy sex abuse proceedings be open to the public.
Attorneys Pam Spees and Katherine Gallagher of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York wrote the report and can be reached at (212 614 6431, PSpees@ccrjustice.org, KGallagher@ccrjustice.org. The media contact for CCR is Jen Nessel (212 614 6449, email@example.com) and David Lerner (Riptide Communications, 212 260 5000).
The actual filing will be posted on the CCR website Thursday morning.
This is the second time SNAP and CCR are seeking help from an international body.
In Sept. 2011, the two organizations filed a detailed formal complaint to the International Criminal Court at The Hague charging three Vatican staffers (including Pope Benedict) with “crimes against humanity.” The groups submitted even more documentation in April 2012. That complaint is pending.
In May 2011, Amnesty International harshly criticized the Vatican for its track record on clergy child sex crimes, noting that “Canon law does not include an obligation for church authorities to report cases to civil authorities for criminal investigation.” http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/vatican/report-2011
The next month (June 2011), Vatican officials promised its CRC report “soon.” That was more than 1.5 years ago.
The Vatican’s 21 page submission is here:
David Clohessy is the SNAP Director and Barbara Dorris is the SNAP Outreach Director. Both have been involved for more than 20 years. Both live in (and were abused in) Missouri and are staying in Rome for at least a week at the hotel NR Villa carpegna 011 39 06 393 731, Via Pio IV 6, Roma IT 00165