Clergy abuse survivors push for federal investigation into Catholic Church

August 31, 2018 § Leave a comment

Clergy abuse survivors push for federal investigation into Catholic Church By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor Thu August 30, 2018

(CNN) Survivors of clergy sex abuse stood in front of the Vatican embassy in Washington on Thursday and urged two higher powers — the Pope and the US Department of Justice — to take concrete steps to prevent more abuses and hold abusers accountable.

“They have plenty of evidence,” said Peter Isely, spokesman for the group Ending Clergy Abuse. “Let’s launch this investigation. Let’s do it now.”

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and Center for Constitutional Rights have also sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein demanding an “investigation and prosecution of high-level officials in the Catholic Church” for sexual crimes and cover-ups.

“It is long past time for the US Department of Justice to initiate a full-scale, nationwide investigation into the systemic rape and sexual violence, and cover-ups in the Catholic Church, and, where appropriate, bring criminal and/or civil proceedings against the hierarchy that enabled the violations,” the groups said in the letter….

SNAP’s letter demanding a federal investigation is dated August 15, one day after a damning report by a grand jury in Pennsylvania said there is credible evidence that 301 “predator priests” abused more than 1,000 children in six dioceses since 1947.

Because the statute of limitations had run out on most of the crimes, only two priests have been charged as a result of the two-year-long investigation.
But the Pennsylvania report has prompted officials in several other states, including Illinois and Missouri, to open inquiries into allegations of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy.

SNAP said they have been asking for a federal investigation into the Catholic Church since 2003, during the church’s last widespread scandal of clergy sex abuse….

In an explosive letter published Sunday, former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò said that top church officials, including Pope Francis, knew that McCarrick had been accused of abusing seminarians but covered it up. Viganò also accused Francis of lifting restrictions placed on him by the previous pope, Benedict XVI.

Vigano wrote that documents backing up his accusations were in Vatican files in the Washington embassy, where he worked from 2011-2016, when he was removed by Pope Francis.

The Pope has said he will not comment on the accusations.

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