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Federal judge rules priests not Vatican employees in sex abuse case
Dan Taglioli at 2:09 PM ET
Clergy abuse has become a contentious legal issue in recent years, as the Vatican has come under intense scrutiny related to allegations of sexual abuse of children by local church officials. In February Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the church-appointed prosecutor in the ongoing clergy sex abuse [JURIST news archive] scandals, issued a warning at a symposium of bishops that they must follow rules in place for protecting victims of sexual abuse in the church or they risk being sanctioned. In November a UK court ruled [JURIST report] that Catholic priests qualify as employees, meaning that the Catholic church could be held liable for sexual abuse by clergy members. In September Amnesty International[advocacy website] claimed [JURIST report] that clergy members' abuse of Irish children amounted to torture. The report, titled In Plain Sight [text, PDF] called special attention to "people in positions of power" who "ignore their responsibility to act." Also in September, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) [advocacy website] filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] against Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI, for widespread sexual abuse and subsequent concealment of thousands of incidents. Since 2007, the Church hassettled over 500 cases [JURIST news archive] of clergy abuse in the U.S. alone, totaling more than $900 million.
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