Clergy abuse survivors push for federal investigation into Catholic Church


The Survivors Community of These Abused by Monks (SNAP) and Heart for Constitutional Rights have additionally despatched a letter to Deputy Legal professional Basic Rod Rosenstein demanding an “investigation and prosecution of high-level officers within the Catholic Church” for sexual crimes and cover-ups.

“It’s long gone time for the US Division of Justice to provoke a full-scale, nationwide investigation into the systemic rape and sexual violence, and cover-ups within the Catholic Church, and, the place acceptable, deliver prison and/or civil proceedings in opposition to the hierarchy that enabled the violations,” the teams mentioned within the letter.

Pam Spees, senior employees legal professional on the Heart for Constitutional Rights, mentioned a Division of Justice official has confirmed receipt of the request. Spees was a part of the small protest in entrance of the Vatican embassy on Thursday.

Requested for remark, a spokesperson for the Division of Justice mentioned, “We do not verify or deny the existence of investigations.”

“They’ve loads of proof,” mentioned Peter Isely, spokesman for the group Ending Clergy Abuse. “Let’s launch this investigation. Let’s do it now.”

SNAP’s letter demanding a federal investigation is dated August 15, in the future after a damning report by a grand jury in Pennsylvania mentioned there’s credible proof that 301 “predator clergymen” abused greater than 1,000 kids in six dioceses since 1947.

As a result of the statute of limitations had run out on a lot of the crimes, solely two clergymen have been charged because of the two-year-long investigation.

However the Pennsylvania report has prompted officials in several other states, together with Illinois and Missouri, to open inquiries into allegations of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy.

SNAP mentioned they’ve been asking for a federal investigation into the Catholic Church since 2003, throughout the church’s final widespread scandal of clergy intercourse abuse.

Because the embassy’s white and yellow papal flag waved behind them, the abuse survivors additionally referred to as on Pope Francis to launch paperwork that would make clear what prime Vatican officers knew about Washington’s former cardinal, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who has been accused of abusing a minor and seminarians.

McCarrick has denied accusations that he abused the minor and has not commented on the allegations about seminarians.

In an explosive letter revealed Sunday, former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò mentioned that prime church officers, together with Pope Francis, knew that McCarrick had been accused of abusing seminarians however lined it up. Viganò additionally accused Francis of lifting restrictions positioned on him by the earlier pope, Benedict XVI.

Vigano wrote that documents backing up his accusations have been in Vatican information within the Washington embassy, the place he labored from 2011-2016, when he was eliminated by Pope Francis.

The Pope has mentioned he is not going to touch upon the accusations.

“I can’t say a single phrase about this,” he mentioned on Sunday in a press convention aboard the papal aircraft. “I imagine the assertion speaks for itself. And you’ve got the ample journalistic means to make your conclusions. It is an act of belief.”

The Vatican has not responded to a CNN request to overview McCarrick’s church information. CNN additionally tried to talk to Vatican officers on the embassy in Washington on Thursday, however nobody answered the door.

Isely urged the Pope to right away take three steps: enact a coverage of “zero tolerance” worldwide for any priest credibly accused of sexual abuse; do the identical for bishops accused of sexual abuse or overlaying up the crimes of others; publish a world registry of each Catholic priest credibly accused of sexual abuse.

CNN’s Rosa Flores and Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

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