United Nations Questions Laws that Protect Abusive Priests
For immediate release, January 31, 2019
Last week, a United Nations committee focused on children’s rights questioned the Italian government about clerical sexual abuse in the country, “expressing concern over laws that protect predator priests from criminal charges.”
All too often, secular authorities tread lightly around religious institutions, even when the safety of boys and girls is at stake. All too often, tight bonds between politicians and church figures enable clerics who commit or conceal heinous crimes to escape detection and punishment. All too often, church bureaucrats and lobbyists weaken secular laws designed to prevent abuse.
These disturbing patterns need to be disrupted. The well-being of the young must trump the comfort, convenience and careers of those entrusted to care for them. External pressure from governmental entities is often the best way to do this, especially in institutions like the Catholic Church that are ancient, rigid, secretive and male dominated.
Just five years ago, the Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a blistering report accusing the Vatican of fostering a “code of silence” that “systematically” put the reputation of the Church and offending priests over the protection of child victims. We in SNAP are proud to have been a part of that effort.
Politicians take note: the days of safe, cozy and mutually beneficial relationships that involve overlooking child sex crimes and cover ups in churches are waning.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
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.