JEFFERSON CITY (MO)
March 29, 2019
By Kyreon Lee
On Friday, Pope Francis issued new sex abuse legislation for Vatican personnel and Holy See diplomats that requires the immediate reporting of abuse allegations to Vatican prosecutors, a policy shift aimed at being a model for the Catholic Church worldwide.
The mandatory reporting provision marks the first time the Vatican has put into law requirements for Catholic officials to report allegations of sex crimes to police or face fines and possible jail time.
Don Asbee is a representative of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who said the abuse by his former priest started for him at the age of 9. He said the law shouldn’t just be a model for the Catholic Church and only apply to the Vatican City, but be applied to every Catholic Church across the board.
“This should apply to any of the people in positions of the church. If it’s not universal, then it doesn’t have teeth,” Asbee said.
He said if it doesn’t create a system to punish the people in the church abusing, then it isn’t effective.
“The whole cycle of abuse and cover up has got to stop because it’s not a sin, it’s beyond a sin, it’s a crime and it has to be treated accordingly,” Asbee said.
Catholic Church member Kelsie Backues said she thinks this is a step forward for the Catholic Church.
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