Taking the Pope to court

Open Democracy

Shareen Gokal, 1 February 2012

In a landmark effort to bring Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI, to account for crimes against humanity – the widespread and systematic sexual violence perpetrated by the Catholic Church, a case has been filed with the International Criminal Court. Shareen Gokal reports

When Megan Peterson was 14, she was convinced her calling in life was to be a nun. Then, in 2004, she met Father Jeyapaul, a visiting priest from India, at her home parish in the Diocese of Crookston in Minnesota. Having seen him first at a youth retreat, she only hesitated a little when he asked about the book she was reading and offered to lend her one of his own.

According to Megan, Father Jeyapaul offered her a seat in his office, turned around to get the book and unzipped his pants instead. And that he then proceeded to rape her – and raped her repeatedly for almost a year, threatening to hurt her and her family if she did not cooperate. Megan’s experience is emblematic of so many cases of clergy abuse from around the world-marked by violence, betrayal, and long-lasting harm.

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