Victim's Attorney Reacts to U.N. Committee Report
Refusal to Turn Over Bad Priest Files Should Come as No Surprise
Statement by Irwin Zalkin, Esq.
On Tuesday, February 5, 2014, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report calling on the Vatican to remove all child abusers from its ranks, report them to law enforcement and open the church's archives so that bishops and other officials who concealed crimes could be held accountable. The Vatican quickly responded that the report was an attempt to interfere with the church's exercise of religious freedom.
With this response from the Vatican, the U.N. has now gotten a taste of the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church's alleged reformation of its priest sex abuse policies. For the past decade, the Catholic Church has engaged in a public relations campaign to persuade the general public and disillusioned Catholics that the Church has amended its policies when it comes to how it deals with sexual predator priests.
In reality, those of us who represent survivors of clergy sexual abuse in this country and elsewhere in the world and who have been on the front lines of litigation against the various Dioceses and Religious Orders have faced the same efforts to deny and cover up the truth. Fortunately, in the courtroom by courtroom, we have been successful in compelling the public disclosure of pedophile priest files.
While the Catholic Church publicly proclaims its concern for the safety of children, its real concern is to protect its reputation above all and to keep the truth about the depth and breadth of the scourge of child sexual abuse by its clergy from ever seeing the light of day. Many of these predators are still out there and pose a danger to children every day. We as a society and as a country should offer up all our support for the United Nations efforts to investigate the Vatican's participation in these crimes against humanity and to hold Church officials accountable for their actions. Survivors deserve nothing less.