A United Nations panel denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for failing to adequately address child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is calling on the Vatican to remove all known or suspected child molesters from their positions and report them to civil authorities.
“The Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators,” the panel concluded.
It accused the Church of avoiding scandal rather than protecting victims, noting that priests were shuffled around to other parishes and still allowed contact with children after sexual abuse allegations.
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This practice “still places children in many countries at high risk of sexual abuse, as dozens of child sexual offenders are reported to be still in contact with children.”
“The international community is finally holding the Vatican accountable for its role in enabling and perpetuating sexual violence in the church,” Katherine Kramer, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told The New York Times in a statement.
The panel demanded the Vatican release its archives and hold abusers accountable.
While the Vatican says it "takes note of the concluding observations," it "does, however, regret to see an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of the human person."
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It has denied U.N. requests for records of abuse from its archive. Church officials stated that information is only released when a government requests it for a legal case.