UN panel slams Vatican on priest sex abuse scandal

By the AP

May 23, 2014

GENEVA (AP) — A United Nations committee concluded Friday that the Vatican has effective worldwide control over bishops and priests who must comply with a U.N. anti-torture treaty, a finding that could expose the Catholic Church to new lawsuits by victims of clerical sex abuse.

The opinion from the U.N. Committee Against Torture, which oversees the international treaty on torture and other forms of degrading treatment, said Vatican officials failed to report abuse charges properly, moved priests rather than discipline them, and failed to pay adequate compensation to victims.

The opinion by the panel's 10 independent experts concludes a highly anticipated and first-ever review of the Holy See's responsibilities under the treaty that it ratified 12 years ago.

In at least 50 cases, panel members said, the Committee Against Torture has referred to rape and sexual violence, which clearly falls within the treaty's mandate on a case-by-case basis.

The committee said the Vatican must ensure that the treaty isn't violated by its officials and others "in any situation in which they exercise jurisdiction or effective control."

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Showing 15 comments

  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2014-05-27 10:07:36 -0500
  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2014-05-26 10:15:42 -0500
    Even if it’s occurred to the mainstream media, it’s not like they would divulge any of those kinds of details to the public. Powerful interests protect only their own. It’s been that way since antiquity and before. Good and evil remain the same.
  • Jonathan Hinck
    commented 2014-05-26 10:08:06 -0500
    On a side note, it’s also been widely reported that the Pope has offered to broker peace between the Arabs and Israelis (good luck with that). It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the fawning press that the Vatican may also be trying to protect its interests in the Holy Land by leveraging a deal. Here’s an article, written in 2006 by a London School of Economics prof: http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization/benedict_4156.jsp
  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2014-05-25 21:32:27 -0500
    Yep. Same with the Monica Lewinski “scandal” diverting attention from the bombings of innocents in Kosovo during the 90s.
  • Jonathan Hinck
    commented 2014-05-25 21:02:02 -0500
    Regarding the Pope’s trip to the Holy Land, that was also a well-known Nixon administration strategy: to distract attention from Congressional reports on Watergate by flying off on well-publicized trips to meet foreign leaders. What we have is, apparently, a very politically shrewd pope. Like the Viet Cong, it also appears to be the Vatican’s strategy to wear everyone down through protracted cat and mouse games. Unfortunately, this strategy seems to be working: news networks don’t like to continually report on “old news.” So it is that, on cnn.com, you’re more likely to see links to stories like “You’ve got to see these cute kittens” than you are to see links to stories about the ongoing clergy abuse scandal.
  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2014-05-24 18:57:19 -0500
    “What kind of arrogance and narcissism is in the hierarchy when they choose to ignore Jesus and create a church to their own liking”

    Read the first chapter of Pastor Malachi Martin’s book “Windswept House” for the answer to that question. The Vatican hierarchy views Jesus as their “ancient enemy”.
  • Rosemary McHugh
    commented 2014-05-23 20:36:47 -0500
    I have to agree with Barbara Blaine that the Vatican may have arranged to have the pope go to the Holy Land today, in order to block the TV and radio news from reporting the U.N. report on the Vatican. I have seen no report about the U.N. report on the TV news today. It has not been in today’s papers that I have seen. Hopefully it will be in the newspapers sometime this weekend. Articles have been written online by the papers, but I have not seen any article in print in newspapers yet. – Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh
  • Annette Kissell Nestler
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-05-23 18:51:02 -0500
    I finally was able to see the re-broadcast of your webcast today. And, was very grateful to have been able to see it and to notice that you tried to answer my question that involves a request to you to try to effect the tv reporting on national TV stations of the release of this new UN report. I was happy to learn that it has already been reported by the NY Times and The Guardian, and Reuters, but saddened to learn that apparently you haven’t seen the only reporting I’ve seen on the TELEVISION today regarding catholics and the pope, in any way: and that is, that thus far, on several major TV news stations, I have only seen two or three different reports of the pope going on a trip to Jordan and Israel today (that was on the Today Show, and CNN and MSNBC, So far today, I have heard and seen nothing on the release of this Report by the UN Committee on TELEVISION. I truly hope that ALL the three TV networks that broadcast news, nationally every day here (CBS, NBC and ABC) broadcast the news of this report and its contents TODAY.
  • Julieta Añazco
    commented 2014-05-23 15:07:36 -0500
    From La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina want to thank all the members of SNAP and CCR, for all you are doing for all the victims of the world, Argentina is a very important list of abusive priests and victims are very many that we are ESYE expectancy done. We are very many victims who want to denounce and our cause is barred.
    Why we need this change
    In my case 11 months ago and woke remembered being abused by the priest of the Catholic church: Ricardo Gimenez, and since then I have not stopped demanding JUSTICE for me and we are all victims and 23.
    I leave you a big hug to each of you from this part of the world … Juliet Añazco
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-05-23 14:33:34 -0500
    Sorry, i misspelled that, it should read: “tenets”
    Again, please try to get this report from the UN in the USA national news, tonight. I believe we need to keep up the pressure, and that we really need to get the “celebrity worship” (of the pope) off the agenda of the American press and population, and instead make the progress of stopping sexual torture in the catholic church, known by putting the remarkable progress towards that end, back in the headlines of the televised media. Thank you.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-05-23 14:25:39 -0500
    Also, I will ask the leaders of SNAP and the CCR, to please try to get the release of this UN Report onto the national (USA) evening news, tonight. I only ask this of you, because I know that the catholic heirarchy are still fighting against these reports being taken seriously.
    This morning I noticed on the morning talk “news” shows, that in what appears to be yet another connived, dissembling on the subject of this scourge, and appears to be yet more evidence of the pope’s consummate manipulation of the media and world press, the vatican “timed” the new pope’s visit to Jordan and Jerusalem to occur today, and thus coincide with, and, I’m sure, (in their hopes) will upstage, the release of the UN Committee’s Report. I’m sure the pope and church heirarchy don’t want it widely known that they are NOT upholding the tenents of the UN Treaty Against Torture that they willingly signed. Again, I say SHAME ON ALL OF THEM.
  • Jonathan Hinck
    commented 2014-05-23 13:41:24 -0500
    (Sorry for the repeat post, but items don’t last very long here)
    Matthew 23:23:
    Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven."
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2014-05-23 12:32:07 -0500
    Yes. Thank you to everyone fighting to bring these criminals who perpetrate heinous crimes of torture against these many, many, many innocent, captive children. adolescents and vulnerable adults.
    Thank you to everyone fighting to end the reign of these criminals performing their acts of torture, all the while most evilly purporting during these same horrible acts, to be catholic and priests and catholic and laity and catholic and employees of the cataholic church, all purportedly functioning and claiming to represent the universal (global) catholic church, and meanwhile apparently trying to convince themselves and their victims (and apparently, all of us) that they are performing these crimes all in the name of God. I can’t think of any greater crimes which do in fact, often include the death (“post-poned murder” of many of their victims) that these horrible, horrible catholic pedophiles could perpetrate than what they already have done, and to date, continue doing.
    I, along with the members of the UN Committee examining members (which the Vatican is) on the Convention on the Rights of the Child who met in January 2014; and now, this UN Committee examining signers of The Treaty Against Torture for compliance, who report today May 23, 2014; along with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the CCR and Dr. Rosemary McHugh whose passionate and compassionate comments are posted here; do believe that we are turning the tide and I believe together, we can and will prevail to rid this specific global church of this specific SCOURGE committed by these specific catholic criminals, all perpetrators of CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.
    Their heinous crimes of torture against body and soul must be ended.

    It is ENOUGH to have been tolerated by the global community, this long and far. THESE SPECIFIC CATHOLIC PERPETRATORS MUST BE STOPPED NOW!
  • Rosemary McHugh
    commented 2014-05-23 10:20:48 -0500
    As a physician who has met many who have been sexually abused by priests, and as one who was sexually assaulted by a Carmelite priest when I was a young doctor in Dublin, I thank Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy, Barbara Dorris and all others in SNAP for all you have been doing in giving a voice to victims of clergy sexual abuse.
    Some victims are survivors, sadly many other victims around the world have committed suicide, when they gave up hope that anyone would believe their story, because of the secrecy and denial of the truth by the predators, their superiors, and the hierarchy.
    It is an outrage to think of how popes and hierarchy have allowed this to go on for centuries, and Pope Francis is continuing the cover-up and only doing what he is being forced to do by pressure from SNAP & CCR & the United Nations.
    Jesus was clear about the need to protect the innocence of children. What kind of arrogance and narcissism is in the hierarchy when they choose to ignore Jesus and create a church to their own liking, with no shame for all the harm they have done to victims and to families around the world.
    Thank you to SNAP, to CCR, and to the United Nations for bringing some truth and justice to victims, since the Roman Catholic Church has lost its moral authority and might never regain it again, unless it opens all files of clergy sexual abuse in the Vatican and elsewhere to police and lawyers for investigation and prosecution as needed.
    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, M.D., M.Spir., Chicago

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