GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. committee has been grilling Vatican officials today over their handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal. It was the most intense public questioning to date of Vatican officials over allegations that the church protected pedophile priests at the expense of victims.
The committee in Geneva was armed with hundreds of pages of documents from groups representing victims of clerical abuse. The panel targeted the Holy See's failure to abide by terms of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Among other things, the treaty calls for signatories to take all appropriate measures to keep children from harm.
The Vatican insisted that it doesn't have much authority to sanction pedophile priests around the world, saying it's up to local law enforcement to do so. But officials conceded that more needs to be done.
The Vatican's former sex crimes prosecutor told the committee, "The Holy See gets it." He added that "there are certain things that need to be done differently." The official said there has to be "more transparency and accountability on the local level."
The U.N. committee is made up of independent experts. It will deliver non-binding recommendations next month.
233-a-14-(Monsignor Charles Scicluna (shih-KLOO'-nah), Vatican's former sex crimes prosecutor, at U.N. hearing)-"the local level"-Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's one-time sex crimes prosecutor, tells the U.N. panel he realizes that action to protect cihldren must be taken from the highest levels of the Vatican down to every local parish. (16 Jan 2014)
<<CUT *233 (01/16/14)££ 00:14 "the local level"
232-a-18-(Monsignor Charles Scicluna (shih-KLOO'-nah), Vatican's former sex crimes prosecutor, at U.N. hearing)-"who obstruct justice"-Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's one-time sex crimes prosecutor, says the Vatican does not endorse a policy of covering up the truth in sex abuse cases. (16 Jan 2014)
<<CUT *232 (01/16/14)££ 00:18 "who obstruct justice"
206-c-14-(Nicole Winfield, AP correspondent)-"on sexual abuse"-AP correspondent Nicole Winfield reports that at today's hearing in Geneva, Vatican representives got their most intense public grilling to date over allegations that pedophile priests were protected at the expense of victims. (16 Jan 2014)
<<CUT *206 (01/16/14)££ 00:14 "on sexual abuse"
APPHOTO GE117: Former Vatican Chief Prosecutor of Clerical Sexual Abuse Charles Scicluna gestures prior to the start of a questioning over clerical sexual abuse of children at the headquarters of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014. The Vatican came under blistering criticism from a U.N. committee Thursday for its handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal, facing its most intense public grilling ever over allegations that it protected pedophile priests at the expense of victims. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini) (16 Jan 2014)
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