Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release Friday, May 23, 2014
Statement by Miguel Hurtado of the U.K/Spain, SNAP leader ( +44 7787 638245, email@example.com )
For the second time this year, an international panel of experts is harshly criticizing the Catholic hierarchy for endangering children. We are grateful that more secular authorities are finally stepping up to safeguard children from powerful Catholic officials who commit and conceal devastating and widespread sexual violence against children. We hope this trend continues.
[United Nations Committee Against Torture]
Most significantly, the UN panels clearly finds numerous acts by Catholic officials, in cases of child sexual assault, to constitute torture and trigger the Vatican's duty to prevent, punish and remedy torture.
We are also grateful that the UN panel isn't buying what the Vatican is selling – the patently absurd and self-serving claim that top officials in this powerful global monarchy lack real power or responsibility to protect kids from predators (and must only rely on the actions of thousands of individual bishops across the planet).
(The committee writes “States bear international responsibility for the acts and omissions of their officials and others acting in an official capacity or acting on behalf of the state, in conjunction with the state, under its direction or control…extends to actions and omissions.. deployed on operations abroad.”)
The committee says
–that COMPLICITY and participation in torture is a criminal act
–that statutes of limitations should NOT be applicable to crimes of torture
–that the Vatican refused to provide data to the committee
–that there is evidence that church officials resisted mandatory reporting to civil authorities
–that there should be impartial and independent monitoring and investigations “with no hierarchical connection between investigators and the alleged perpetrators…bodies carry out investigation PROMPTLY, THOROUGHLY, and IMPARTIALLY”
–that results of any church abuse investigations should be made public
– that church officials reconsider the concordats they have with nations that protect clerics who have committed sexual violence - constituting torture and ill-treatment - and those who have information about such crimes, from investigation and prosecution civil authorities.
The UN panel calls on Vatican officials to “take effective measures to ensure that allegations are communicated to the proper civil authorities to facilitate their investigation and prosecution of alleged perpetrators.” In 2014, after decades of this astonishing sexual violence and cover up by church officials and persistent pledges of reform by church officials, it is heartbreaking to us –and should be infuriating to millions – that church officials must still be admonished to call police and prosecutors when abuse reports surface. A clear and simple moral and civic duty recognized by nearly every adult on earth – calling law enforcement to stop predators from assaulting children – continues to be something Catholic officials refuse to do in many, many, many instances. (The committee made clear that this is a legal duty, too.)
The UN panel also calls on Vatican officials to “apply sanctions,” including dismissal from clerical service,” to “any official that fails to … react properly to credible allegations of abuse.”