Pope Francis Sweeping New Sex Abuse Legislation for the Vatican
VATICAN CITY-Pope Francis has issued sweeping new sex abuse legislation for the Vatican City, State and Vatican diplomats that requires the immediate reporting of allegation to Vatican prosecutors as he seeks to create a model policy for the Catholic Church, according to NBC news.
The mandatory reporting provisions, while limited in scope to Vatican officials, marks the first time the Holy See has put into law requirements for Catholic officials to report allegations for sex crimes to police or face fines and possible jail time.
The law now requires any Vatican public official who learns of an allegation of abuse within the law’s jurisdiction to report it to Vatican prosecutors “without delay.” Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to 5,000 euros ($5715) or, in the case of Vatican, up to six months in prison.
“With this document the Vatican wants to send a message that it takes these crimes seriously, wants to prosecute them, to avoid cover up, and also to create an atmosphere that prevents these crimes from happening in the first place,” said Ulrich Rhode, a canon law professor at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University.
While I support any law that protects even a single child, the problem with the Pope’s new legislation is that it is only responsible for protecting children in the Vatican City State.
What is needed is for Pope Francis to enact new, sweeping legislation in the larger jurisdiction of The Catholic Church and across the world. The problem here is that the minor needs to be abused in the Vatican City State to have their rights protected. Outside the Vatican City State, the church still isn’t doing anything.
The legislation requires that victims be welcomed, listened to and provided with medical, psychological and legal assistance, and sets the statute of limitations at 20 years past the victims 18th birthday (or age 38).Most states in the United States still do not have sufficient extensions on statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse victims. It’s pretty damning, that the Catholic Church, not known for swift action or views on child sexual abuse is ahead of the United States in protecting survivors of child sexual abuse’s civil rights.
“Being sexually abused at such an early age was the scar on my soul. But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I went through to be here. But now it’s time to take action to save the next generation of women and children from what we went the
Shari Karney is a survivor’s attorney. She represents victims of child sexual abuse by sexual predators such as a member of the clergy, a teacher, celebrity, sports coach, wealthy businessman or any other powerful person, Karney Law is here for you.