Canada - Nunavut court approves legal funding for pedophile priest Eric Dejaeger


IQALUIT, Nunavut - A Nunavut court says public money should pay for a lawyer to argue the appeal of a former priest serving a 19-year sentence for sexually abusing dozens of Inuit children.

Eric Dejaeger was convicted on 32 counts of sexually abuse 22 Inuit children stemming from his time in Igloolik, Nunavut, as an Oblate priest and missionary more than 35 years ago.

"I am of the view that Mr. Dejaeger could not effectively present his appeal in an organized and coherent fashion without the assistance of counsel," wrote Justice Neil Sharkey of the Nunavut Court of Appeal.

Dejaeger has said he's too broke to pay for a lawyer and legal aid in Nunavut has turned him down.

Sharkey's written ruling said Dejaeger has not entered specific grounds for his appeal or referred to any errors of law he feels were made during his trial.

The trial went ahead in early 2015 after he was returned from Belgium. The defrocked priest was initially slated to face his accusers from Igloolik in 1995, but instead left Canada for his Belgian homeland.

Oblate officials have said that Canadian justice officials turned a blind eye to his leaving the country. He was eventually returned to Canada when Belgian officials realized he was living in that country illegally.

Testimony was often disturbing and marked by tears and outcries from the witnesses and observers. It stirred old ghosts in Igloolik and territorial officials sent extra mental-health workers to the community to help people deal with the memories.

Before he was sentenced, Dejaeger addressed the court and apologized to his victims for his actions.

Within weeks of the verdict, he filed a so-called "prisoner's appeal" of his conviction and his sentence.

Later that fall, Dejaeger pleaded guilty to four additional counts of indecent assault and gross indecency related to his time living in Edmonton.

- By Bob Weber in Edmonton

Dominique on Wednesday 15 March 2017 - 23:39:54

Child abuse: 7% of Australian Catholic priests alleged to be involved


An inquiry examining institutional sex abuse in Australia has heard 7% of the nation's Catholic priests allegedly abused children between 1950 and 2010.

In one religious order, over 40% of church figures were accused of abuse.

Over 4,440 people claim to have been victims between 1980 and 2015, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse was told.

The commission, Australia's highest form of inquiry, is also investigating abuse at non-religious organisations.

It has previously heard harrowing testimony from scores of people who suffered abuse at the hands of clergy.

One victim said he was sexually abused by his Catholic Christian Brother teacher in his classroom, with other students ordered to look away.

In another case, the inquiry heard allegations that a priest threatened a girl with a knife and made children kneel between his legs.

'Children punished'

The full scale of the problem emerged on Monday, when the commission released the statistics it has gathered.

Gail Furness, the lead lawyer assisting the commission in Sydney, said more than 1,000 Catholic institutions across Australia were identified in claims of sexual abuse, with a total of 1,880 alleged perpetrators between 1980 and 2015.

The average age of the victims was 10.5 for girls and 11.5 for boys. On average, it took 33 years for each instance of abuse to be reported.

The victims' stories were "depressingly similar", Ms Furness said.

"Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious [figures] were moved. The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past."

Anthony and Chrissie Foster, the parents of two girls who were abused by their parish priest, said the Catholic Church had shown "no mercy, no remorse. Nothing."

"For so long this has been the way they acted to hide perpetrators, to move them on, with no regard for children whatsoever, that other children have become victims, and suffered this terrible fate," they told ABC news.

Abuse survivor Andrew Collins told the BBC it had been "drummed into his head" by the four men who abused him between the ages of seven and 14 - two teachers, a priest and a Catholic Brother - that he was the one who had "done wrong".

"I did try to tell my mum once and she said it was absolute rubbish and a man of God would never do such a thing," he said.

'Shocking, tragic, indefensible'

The royal commission also detailed the number of abuse claims against 10 religious orders, with data showing that four orders had allegations of abuse against more than 20% of their members.

The royal commission, set up in 2013, is investigating allegations of sexual and physical abuse across dozens of institutions in Australia, including schools, sports clubs and religious organisations.

Ms Furness said on Monday that 60% of all survivors of abuse were from faith-based organisations. Of those, nearly two-thirds concerned the Catholic Church.

Francis Sullivan, chief executive of the Truth Justice and Healing Council, which is co-ordinating the Catholic Church's response to the inquiry, said the data reflected "a massive failure'' by the church to protect children.

"These numbers are shocking, they are tragic and they are indefensible," a tearful Mr Sullivan told the commission. "As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame."

Abuse survivor Mr Collins suggested Australian state laws that allow organisations to be declared criminal should be applied to the Catholic Church over the rape and abuse of children within orders.

The Vatican has watched the proceedings closely. Cardinal George Pell, who was Australia's most senior Catholic before becoming Pope Francis' top financial adviser, has testified at previous hearings about how church authorities responded to allegations of child sex abuse during his time in Australia.

Several senior Australian Catholics will be testifying over the next few weeks. The commission's final report is due by the end of this year.

Dominique on Monday 06 February 2017 - 22:14:29

Guam Law Ending Statute of Limitations on Sex Abuse Cases Could Force Church Into Bankruptcy


On Friday, the Governor of Guam, Eddie Calvo, signed a bill removing the statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges for civil cases (but not criminal ones). That means many people who were molested by their priests decades ago can now sue the Church even if it was “too late” before.
Church leaders are freaking out because — wait for it — this could lead to bankruptcy.
Cue the sad trombone.

Church leaders say lifting the statute of limitations would subject the church to unlimited financial liability, forcing the closure of parish churches and schools on the island where more than three quarters of Guam’s 162,000 residents are Roman Catholics.


In the [open letter to the people of Guam], Calvo said he was “saddened that even a single injustice had to happen in order to make this law necessary. There are no winners. Justice is the only victory.”
He added that he was resolute in his decision, saying the legislation opens “the doors of justice to those who suffered a terrible harm as children.”

See those tears of sympathy streaming down everyone’s faces? Me neither.
If the Church suffers because of this law, too fucking bad. They deserve whatever monetary punishments they have coming their way. The fact that they used to be able to get off on a legal technicality should be appalling to decent people everywhere.
There’s one hitch, though. Even Calvo isn’t sure the law will survive a legal challenge. But the fact that he signed it anyway suggests this is a battle he believes is worth fighting. He’s certainly on the right side of the moral issue, regardless of what the courts decide.

Dominique on Tuesday 04 October 2016 - 20:47:25

Church of England told bishops not to apologize to sex abuse victims


The Church of England explicitly warned bishops not to apologize fully, if at all, to sex abuse victims to avoid being sued, it has been revealed.

Legal advice seen by the Telegraph marked “strictly confidential,” circulated among the most senior bishops, told them to “express regret” to sexual abuse victims by only using approved wording.

Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse, it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers),” the report says.

The guidance, written in 2007 and only replaced last year, says bishops should not meet victims face to face and only ever do so after legal advice.

“This may be the right course in some circumstances but great care will be needed to ensure that nothing is said which inadvertently concedes legal liability,” the report says.

Survivors told the newspaper the newly revealed document showed there was a culture of “denial, dishonesty and blanking” victims in ways which heightened their pain.

It follows a damning independent review of the Church’s handling of sadistic abuse by Garth Moore, a priest and top canon lawyer, in the 1970s.

It highlighted how a teenager, known as “Joe,” revealed his ordeal to a string of leading clerics who later claimed not to remember anything of their conversations.

The report singled out the way in which the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, the Church’s then head of safeguarding, cut all contact with Joe following advice from insurers.

The review condemned this as “reckless.”

Joe said the newly released legal document “made total sense” in light of his own experience.

“This finally exposes the culture that has been followed,” he said.

“The approach to survivors is often a corporate model and this document supports that – it shows a church led by lawyers and insurers, you get the impression that these people are really their masters.

“A diocese is deferential to their bishop and the bishop is deferential to a bunch of lawyers.

“The Church will say ‘our hands are tied’ but they are paying the people who are tying their hands.

“They should say we need to stop this nonsense but they wash their hands like Pontius Pilate.

“Every part of this nexus [the bishops, the lawyers and insurance owners] washes its hands of every other part of it but the nexus is joined at the hip.”

Child abuse lawyer David Greenwood, who represented Joe, said: “With church organizations you expect a higher standard than just a legalistic approach.

“This is a naive document, it is legalistic and doesn’t take into account the needs of survivors of child sexual abuse.

“I think this is more naivety than nastiness – but the effect definitely can be nasty.”

A Church of England spokesperson said: “The Church of England published new guidance in 2015 emphasizing that the pastoral response to alleged victims and survivors is of top priority, and needs to be separated as far as possible from the management processes for the situation, and from legal and insurance responses.

“That superseded all previous advice and ensures that the pastoral needs of survivors must never be neglected and pastoral contact can continue whatever legal issues exist.”

Dominique on Friday 23 September 2016 - 21:11:00

Grand Jury Finds 50 Priests Raped Hundreds Of Philadelphia Children


The wheels of justice didn’t turn at all in Philadelphia because the Church concealed the crimes and protected the rapists.

In this column on Friday, a reference was made to the quote from Chinese author Sun Tzu or Sūn Wu in “The Art of War” that says “the wheels of justice grind slow, but grind exceedingly fine.” The statement is relatively accurate in the secular world, but is not remotely applicable to religion; particularly the Catholic religion. This is not an indictment of the faith as a whole, but it is a condemnation of the Vatican leadership that allowed pedophilia by its clergy to go unpunished and unreported despite the tens-of-thousands of lives that have been forever ruined.

There will never be any real justice for the victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests in and around Philadelphia; at least not in the sense that even one of the 50 serial rapists will ever be punished. In those cases, the wheels of justice not only did not turn slowly, they didn’t turn at all because the Church concealed the crimes and protected the rapists. However, according to a grand jury report released Tuesday; “Hundreds of children in western Pennsylvania were sexually assaulted by 50 Roman Catholic priests over four decades while the diocese’ Catholic bishops covered up their actions.”

The “too little, too late” report revealed that the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese Bishop James Hogan who passed away in 2005, and the bishop following him, Joseph Adamec who retired in 2011, were “diligent in concealing the pedophile priests’ crimes.” The not-so-stunning findings also revealed that many local law enforcement agencies refused to investigate the sexual abuse allegations according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The wheels of justice can hardly turn when powerful religious leaders and their law enforcement facilitators get in the way.

The real tragedy is that despite any private lawsuits against the Church, the diocese, church leaders, or individual rapists, no-one will ever punish the monsters responsible for sexually abusing children. It is as good to be a religious leader as it is to be a crooked Republican governor or corrupt businessman like Willard Romney because none of them will ever be held to account for their crimes. In the rapist priests’ cases, the crimes committed over the course of over 40 years exceed the statute of limitations and cannot be prosecuted. Attorney General Kane announced that “no criminal charges can, or will, be filed because the incidents are just too old to be prosecuted.”

She also said, “The heinous crimes these children endured are absolutely unconscionable. These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims in the very places where they should have felt most safe.” One wonders why Kane did not lash out at the various local law enforcement agencies that looked the other way while the powerful and influential “holy men” were sodomizing children. Obviously, the wheels of justice are as apt to come to an abrupt halt when law enforcement is corrupt as when religious leaders and corrupt Republicans violate the law. It is as good to be in law enforcement, apparently, as it is to be in positions of leadership in religion.

This obscene idea that members of the clergy are above the law is something that advocates for child victims of sexual assault have long been urging lawmakers to change; at least to give prosecutors more time to bring sexual abuse charges against members of the clergy. The victims’ advocates have noted, particularly in the case of sexual assaults against minors, that the young victims may take several years before they come forward or alert even their parents. Of course, those ornately-robed monsters in funny collars are fully aware that children are not inclined to report being raped by priests who are a veritable law unto themselves in the eyes of the faithful; especially little children raised to be awestruck by the righteous authority of the clergy.

The 147-page Grand Jury report contained “explicit and very graphic details of the scores of sexual attacks against children,” including naming the righteous perpetrators; many of whom have died or were transferred to other parishes and diocese to spread their “priestly love” around the country and, indeed, the world. In fact, during the two years the Grand Jury was carefully investigating over forty years’ worth of priestly sexual assaults, many of the still-surviving rapists were safely ensconced within the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese to continue down the path of unrighteousness toward children according to Attorney General Kane.

Allegedly, all of the remaining sexual-predator priests were recently removed by the current Altoona-Johnstown Bishop, Mark Bartchak, just in time to miss out on the damning Grand Jury report’s unveiling; it is a very common practice to continue protecting the child rapists even when they are caught red-handed until it appears the long arm of the law is approaching; then they are typically transferred to a diocese far away from the original scene of the crimes.

One serial rapist priest in California, for example, was sent from one California parish to another, and eventually had to be assigned out of country to South America to impose his particularly twisted brand of “Christian love” on poor Hispanic children. After he was caught and exposed as a monster on another continent, the abuser was transferred back to his original parish crime scene to sexually assault a new generation of innocent children.

When the story finally came out exposing the serial pedophile priest, the local diocese’ bishop said precisely what the current Altoona-Johnstown bishop said when his, and the Vatican’s role in creating, protecting, and expanding the reach of the pedophilia ring was exposed publicly; “This is a very painful and difficult time for our Diocesan Church. I deeply regret any harm that has come to children.”

The director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests, David Clohessy, said in a statement that “We’re saddened but not the least bit surprised. It proves what we’ve long maintained: that even now, under the guise of ‘reform,’ bishops continue to deceive parishioners and the public about their ongoing efforts to hide abuse.” There was no response to requests for comment from the former, and now retired, Bishop Joseph Adamec; likely because he is waiting for explicit directions from the Vatican that will excuse both the church and clergy from any culpability to avoid paying out damages to the victims.

Dominique on Sunday 06 March 2016 - 21:51:21

Vatican Reeling As Pope Francis Admits There Is An Army Of Over 8,000 Pedophile Priests



(Now the End Begins) In a BBC interview that the Vatican is struggling to spin, Pope Francis took the highly unusual step of actually admitting that there are thousands and thousands of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church worldwide. By their estimates about 8,000. This mind-numbing admission has sent shock-waves through the highest levels of the Vatican system.

In the interview, Pope Francis was quoted as saying that the 2% estimate came from advisers. It would represent around 8,000 child-abusing priests out of a global number of about 414,000. While the incidence of pedophilia as a psychiatric disorder in the general population is not accurately known, some estimates have put it at less than five percent.

“Among the 2% who are pedophiles are priests, bishops and cardinals. Others, more numerous, know but keep quiet. They punish without giving the reason,” Pope Francis was quoted as saying.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi denied that Pope Francis had said that there were cardinals who were pedophiles. Father Lombardi also denied that these were the Pope’s exact words.

Dominique on Tuesday 06 January 2015 - 18:13:00

No big deal! Pope Francis says "only" 2 percent of Catholic clergy are pedophiles - That's 1 in 50 Catholic priests


Pope Francis promised "solutions" to the issue of priestly celibacy in an interview on Sunday that raised the possibility the Catholic Church could eventually lift the interdiction on married priests.

Speaking to Italy's La Repubblica daily, Francis also condemned child sex abuse as a "leprosy" in the Church and cited his aides as saying that "the level of paedophilia in the Church is at two percent".

"That two percent includes priests and even bishops and cardinals," he said.

Asked whether priests might one day be allowed to marry, Francis pointed out that celibacy was instituted "900 years after Our Lord's death" and that clerics can marry in some Eastern Churches under Vatican tutelage.

"There definitely is a problem but it is not a major one. This needs time but there are solutions and I will find them," Francis said, without giving further details.

The interview was the third in a series with the 90-year-old founder of the La Repubblica daily, Eugenio Scalfari, a famous journalist and known atheist.

Comment of The Pope is clearly downplaying the role of pedophilia in the Catholic Church. It's highly likely that the level of pedophilia in the Catholic Church is much higher than two percent.

Dominique on Sunday 26 January 2014 - 07:41:00

In Files, a History of Sexual Abuse by Priests in Chicago Archdiocese


CHICAGO — One priest, the Rev. William J. Cloutier, was accused of raping a boy in his summer cottage, locking the door when the 13-year-old started screaming, and then brandishing a handgun while threatening to kill him if he told anyone. Another, the Rev. Robert C. Becker, would take boys to a trailer where, they said, he slept beside them and molested them. And the Rev. Joseph R. Bennett was accused of raping a girl with the handle of a paten, a plate used to hold eucharistic bread.

Thousands of documents gleaned from the personnel files of the Archdiocese of Chicago were released to the public on Tuesday, unspooling a lurid history of abuse by priests and halting responses from bishops in the country’s third-largest archdiocese. In each case, the priests ultimately died or were ousted from ministry, and in most cases, the allegations were never proved in a criminal court. But the documents suggest that church officials were at times quite solicitous toward priests accused of abuse.

In one remarkable instance in 1997, Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin was persuaded to allow the body of an abusive priest’s mother to be brought to the prison where the priest, the Rev. Norbert J. Maday, was incarcerated so he could pay his respects. Cardinal Francis E. George, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Chicago, described the accommodation in a thank-you note as “an exceptional act of charity.”

Cardinal George’s predecessor, Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin, opted not to defrock the same priest, writing a letter to him in prison declaring that “you have suffered enough by your present deprivation of ministry and your incarceration.”

On Tuesday, shortly after the documents were posted online, the Archdiocese of Chicago published on its website a statement again apologizing for abuse by priests and declaring, “the Archdiocese acknowledges that its leaders made some decisions decades ago that are now difficult to justify.”

“We realize the information included in these documents is upsetting,” the statement said. “It is painful to read. It is not the Church we know or the Church we want to be.”

A few hours later, abuse victims and their lawyers gathered in the 23rd-floor ballroom of a downtown hotel, lined up in front of posters and a video screen displaying photographs of priests accused of abusing minors. At the side of a lectern sat three cardboard boxes filled with copies of the files.

Jeff Anderson, a lawyer who has represented numerous victims of clergy sexual abuse around the nation, said the documents depicted a “systematic, ongoing, decades-long, continuous pattern of conscious choices by top officials of the archdiocese,” and argued that church officials were complicit in the abuse when they failed to remove abusers from ministry.

“The priorities have been demonstrated to have been the protection of the offenders and the reputation of the archdiocese,” he said. Later, turning to the victims beside him, he said, “These children were not as important to them as the clergy were.”

Most of the abuse described in the documents was alleged to have taken place years ago; about half of the accused priests are dead, and many of the victims have already been given financial settlements from the archdiocese. Some of the documents have previously been available online, and have received attention in local news reports, as a result of criminal prosecutions and civil suits.

But the victims have pressed for public release of the files, arguing that the comprehensive set of documents will provide an important form of reckoning, chronicling what church officials did, and did not do, when they learned of accusations that priests had molested minors.

“For some of us it will be answers, for some of us it will be peace of mind, for some of us it’s wanting to know, but for all of us it’s a start,” said Angel Santiago, 47, who won a $700,000 settlement from the archdiocese in 2011 after accusing the Rev. Joseph L. Fitzharris of abusing him in the early 1980s. “It’s a little more weight off my shoulders,” he said, “but I still carry some of it.”

Father Fitzharris, who acknowledged abusing multiple boys, was defrocked in 2009. Father Cloutier, whose threats with the gun were investigated but not prosecuted by the local police in 1979, went on to face further accusations of abuse; he resigned from the priesthood in 1993 and died in 2003. Father Becker, who in 1986 wrote in a letter to Cardinal Bernardin about “how full of shame I feel for having betrayed you and the archdiocese,” died in 1989. Father Bennett, who denied most of the many accusations against him, resigned from the priesthood in 2012.

The personnel files of accused priests have previously been made public in other American dioceses, including Boston and Los Angeles, generally as a result of litigation. Most of the documents have been published in an online archive,

The Archdiocese of Chicago has paid about $100 million to settle abuse allegations against priests. The archdiocese has also posted to its website a list of 65 priests — none still in ministry — who the church said have been credibly accused of abusing minors; the documents released Tuesday concern 30 priests whose files were subject to negotiations with victims’ lawyers.

A lawyer for the accused priests, Joseph V. Roddy, said the documents’ accusations should be read with caution, because “some were tested in criminal court, but in the vast majority of cases, they’re just allegations.”

An archdiocesan lawyer told reporters last week that 95 percent of the allegations in the files concerned conduct before 1988, and none after 1996; 14 of the 30 accused priests are dead, and none are still serving in ministry. Cardinal George, who has been the archbishop of Chicago since 1997, has said he never met many of the priests.

The release of the Chicago files comes as Cardinal George, a 77-year-old cancer survivor and one of the leading intellectuals in the American church hierarchy, is awaiting permission from the Vatican to retire. Pope Francis’ choice of a new archbishop of Chicago will be closely watched as it will probably be the pope’s first appointment to lead a major American see.

Although the abuse described in the documents took place before Cardinal George became archbishop, many of the victims first came forward after his arrival; some of the files concern cases in which Cardinal George’s response has been questioned, including that of the Father Bennett, whose disciplinary proceeding the cardinal briefly delayed, and Father Maday, whose prison sentence the cardinal sought to reduce.

“It would be a great fulfillment of the millennium spirit to see your captive heart set free,” Cardinal George wrote to the incarcerated Father Maday in 2000. But the cardinal later changed his mind. In 2007, after several more people had come forward to say they had been abused by Father Maday, the cardinal wrote to a parole commission, saying he was seeking to defrock the priest.

The documents also shed new light on the handling of abusers by Cardinal Bernardin, a highly regarded figure in American Catholic history, and one of the first prominent church figures to act strongly against clergy sexual abuse by naming a board in 1992 to investigate future accusations. Cardinal Bernardin had occasionally given abusive priests second chances — for example, he allowed Father Fitzharris a new parish assignment, with the caveat that he should not be allowed unsupervised contact with high-school-age boys, after the priest had been criminally charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old.

Dominique on Wednesday 22 January 2014 - 16:01:08

UN condemns Vatican over handling of clerical sex abuse of children - Holy See pressed by children's rights committee about ways abusive priests were transferred rather than reported to police


A UN panel has condemned the Vatican's handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal during a hearing in which representatives of the Holy See were questioned in public for the first over allegations that it protected clerics at the expense of their young victims.

Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's former sex crimes prosecutor, acknowledged on Thursday that the Holy See had been slow to face the crisis but said it was now committed to doing so.

"The Holy See gets it," he told the UN committee. "Let's not say too late or not. But there are certain things that need to be done differently."

Scicluna added that prosecutors across the world should take action anyone, clerical or lay, who obstructs justice.

He was responding to questioning over claims that the Vatican had repeatedly failed to abide by terms of the UN convention on the rights of the child, which calls for signatories to take all appropriate measures to keep the young from harm. Critics allege the Catholic church enabled the rape of thousands of children by protecting paedophile priests to defend its reputation.

The committee's main human rights investigator, Sara Oviedo, pressed Scicluna and other Vatican representatives before the hearing on how abusive priests were transferred rather than reported to the police. Given the church's "zero tolerance" policy, she asked, why were there "efforts to cover up and obscure these types of cases".

Another committee member, Maria Rita Parsi, an Italian psychologist and psychotherapist, asked: "If these events continue to be hidden and covered up, to what extent will children be affected?"

The Holy See ratified the convention in 1990 and submitted a first implementation report in 1994. But it failed to submit a progress report until 2012 following criticism over a plethora of clerical sex abuse cases that emerged two years early.

Victims groups and human rights organisations have pressed the UN committee to challenge the Vatican over its record of handling priests who sexually abuse children, providing written testimony from the abused and evidence outlining the global scale of the problem.

Their reports cite case studies in Mexico and Britain, grand jury investigations in the US, and government fact-finding inquiries from Canada to Ireland to Australia that detail how the Vatican's policies, its culture of secrecy and fear of scandal contributed to the problem.

The Holy See has long insisted that it was not responsible for the crimes of Catholic clerics committed around the world, saying priests are not employees of the Vatican but citizens of countries where they reside and subject to local law enforcement. It has maintained that bishops were responsible for the priests in their care, not the pope.

But victims groups and human rights organisations provided the UN committee with Vatican documentation showing how the Holy See discouraged bishops from reporting abusers to police.

Committee member Jorge Cardona Llorens, a Spanish international law professor, asked how the Vatican would create "specific criteria" for putting children's interests first, because there were none yet in place.

Scicluna said the Holy See wanted to be a model for how to protect children and care for victims. "I think the international community looks up to the Holy See for such guidance. But it's not only words, it has to be commitment on the ground."

He added: "The states who are cognisant of obstruction of justice need to take action against citizens of their countries who obstruct justice."

Scicluna, a Maltese bishop, has previous said prelate who failed to do the right thing with paedophile priests must be held accountable.

Dominique on Saturday 18 January 2014 - 03:35:31

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski's Extradition Declined: Former Papal Nuncio Accused Of Sex Abuse Remains In Vatican


Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski will not be extradited to his native Poland, despite accusations of sex abuse there and in the Dominican Republic, where he served as papal nuncio until his August 2013 dismissal.

The Warsaw Office of the Prosecutor reported the the Vatican had tersely replied to their extradition request, saying that "Archbishop Wesolowski is a citizen of the Vatican, and Vatican law does not allow for his extradition," according to Catholic Culture.

Polish TV channel N24 commented that "The Holy See's response is concise and fits in a half-page. The letter's authors noted that the Vatican is investigating the Catholic hierarch about the alleged practice of pedophilia," according to Dominican Today.

The Vatican recalled Wesolowski to Rome before Dominican prosecutors announced their investigation, though it said that it was cooperating with prosecutors. Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for sex abuse, and his case raises questions of sovereignty when it comes to prosecution.

At the time of the recall, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi denied that the Vatican was trying to shield Wesolowski.

According to The Tablet, Wesolowski is currently believed to be living in the Vatican.

More from AP:

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican has told Polish prosecutors that its former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, under investigation for alleged sex abuse, is covered by diplomatic immunity and that the Vatican doesn't extradite its citizens, Polish officials said in the latest development in an embarrassing case for the Holy See.

Polish Archbishop Josef Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be investigated for alleged sex abuse, and his case has raised questions about whether the Vatican, by removing him from Dominican jurisdiction, was protecting him and placing its own investigations ahead of that of authorities in the Caribbean nation.

The Holy See recalled Wesolowski on Aug. 21 and relieved him of his job after the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez, told Pope Francis in July about rumors that Wesolowski had sexually abused teenage boys in the Dominican Republic. Dominican authorities subsequently op ened an investigation, but haven't charged him.

Poland, too, has opened an investigation into Wesolowski and a friend and fellow Polish priest.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi has denied Rome was shielding Wesolowski and that the Vatican was cooperating with the investigations while conducting its own probes.

The spokesman for Warsaw's provincial prosecutor's office, Przemyslaw Nowak, told The Associated Press that Polish prosecutors had recently asked the Vatican for information about Wesolowski's legal status as part of its own investigation. He said the Vatican had confirmed that Wesolowski is a citizen of the Vatican city state, that the Vatican doesn't extradite its citizens and that as a nuncio, or Holy See ambassador, Wesolowski enjoys full diplomatic immunity.

Lombardi confirmed Saturday that the Vatican's embassy in Warsaw had responded to the request, though he declined to confirm the legal principles Nowak said were outlined in the letter. Lombardi as well as Nowak stressed that the Polish were not seeking Wesolowski's extradition but merely information about his legal status.

Lombardi did confirm that Wesolowski was being investigated by two separate Vatican tribunals for alleged canonical crimes and violations of the Vatican city state's criminal code. Canon law convictions can result in being defrocked; convictions in the Vatican's civil tribunals can carry jail terms.

The criminal code was updated last summer to criminalize sexual violence against children. Lombardi said it would be up to legal experts to determine if the new law can be applied retroactively, or if the Vatican's previous laws would cover Wesolowski's case. Sexual crimes did exist in the previous law, but in a general form in the archaic code as a crime against "good customs."

That two Vatican entities are investigating Wesolowski suggests that he has remained inside the Vatican ever since his recall. The Vatic a n has refused to say where he is, provide information about whether he has a lawyer or how he has responded to the accusations.

The case is particularly problematic for the Vatican since Wesolowski was a representative of the pope, accused of grave crimes that the Holy See has previously sought to distance itself from by blaming the worldwide sex abuse scandal on wayward priests and their bishops who failed to discipline them. The Wesolowski case is also delicate because he was both ordained a priest and bishop by his Polish countryman, Pope John Paul II, who will be made a saint in April.

Dominique on Saturday 18 January 2014 - 03:31:00

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