UN: Vatican should pursue charges against pedophile priests

The United Nations torture watchdog called on the Vatican on Friday to cooperate with civil authorities in prosecuting all cases of suspected sexual abuse by pedophile priests . Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The United Nations torture watchdog called on the Vatican on Friday to cooperate with civil authorities in prosecuting all cases of suspected sexual abuse by pedophile priests .
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations torture watchdog called on the Vatican on Friday to cooperate with civil authorities in prosecuting all cases of suspected sexual abuse by pedophile priests and to set up its own independent complaints mechanism.

It was the second time this year that a U.N. human rights body has criticized how Roman Catholic officials have handled the decades-long sexual abuse of minors by priests.

Victims accuse the Vatican of still protecting abusers and covering up sex crimes, failing to punish perpetrators, refer them to the authorities or provide adequate compensation.

The Vatican told the committee last week the Church’s accusers were “fossilized in the past” when attitudes were different. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said the Church had developed model child protection policies over the last decade that other states and institutions might emulate.

The U.N. Committee against Torture, which examined the Holy See’s record earlier this month, said Vatican officials should monitor priests and “stop and sanction” conduct that violates the U.N. treaty against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The pact is known as the CAT.

It rejected the Vatican’s position that the Holy See has jurisdiction only in the tiny Vatican City State.

Any priest suspected of committing sexual abuse should be immediately suspended from his duties pending investigation and should not be transferred to another diocese to avoid punishment, it said.

The Vatican should “take effective measures to ensure that allegations received by its officials concerning violations of the Convention (against Torture) are communicated to the proper civil authorities to facilitate their investigation and prosecution of alleged perpetrators.”


The U.N. committee, composed of 10 independent experts, said that the Holy See had a responsibility under the treaty that extended to its officials working worldwide.

It specifically voiced concern at the case of Father Joseph Jayapaul, a priest formally accused of sexually abusing youth in Minnesota, who has returned to his native India.

It called on the Vatican to investigate Polish Archbishop Joseph Wesolowski and ensure that if warranted he is criminally prosecuted or extradited to the Dominican Republic to face charges of alleged abuse.

Wesolowski was recalled last August to the Vatican, which said a month later that it would cooperate with authorities investigating him on suspicion of pedophilia.

The U.N. committee voiced deep concern at reports by many victims that they have been unable to obtain redress and at a “refusal” by four religious orders that ran the Magdalene laundries in Ireland to contribute to a compensation fund.

Women, many unmarried mothers, sent to the laundries were made to work in slave-like conditions, and were often subject to cruel and degrading treatment as well as abuse, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said in February.

In a statement on Friday, the Holy See said that the U.N. torture committee had not found it in violation of the treaty and had recognized its “important efforts to prevent sexual abuse against minors and others”.

“The Holy See condemns sex abuse as a serious crime and a grave violation of human dignity,” it said.

Regarding the U.N. torture watchdog’s specific cases and demands, it said: “The Holy See takes note and will give serious consideration to these recommendations.”

The Holy See said the U.N. body did not expressly conclude that rape or sexual abuse constitutes torture, but appeared to make an “implicit fundamental assumption” that it was.

“Such an assumption is neither supported by the text of the CAT nor has it been accepted to date by human rights authorities,” it said.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.