Abuse victims sue Pope for crimes against humanity

Abuse victims sue Pope for crimes against humanity

Church in the dock

 The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said it had filed a complaint calling on the ICC to “take action and prosecute the Pope” for “direct and superior responsibility for the crimes against humanity of rape and other sexual violence committed around the world.”

In a statement, SNAP said members from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States had travelled to The Hague to urge prosecutors to investigate the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The US-based victims network submitted more than 20,000 pages of supporting materials including “reports, policy papers, and evidence of the crimes by Catholic clergy committed against children and vulnerable adults,” it said.

SNAP members were accompanied by lawyers from the non-profit US Centre for Constitutional Rights.

“Crimes against tens of thousands of victims, most of them children, are being covered up by officials at the highest level of the Vatican. In this case, all roads really do lead to Rome,” the centre’s lawyer Pam Spees said in the statement.

Megan Peterson, a 21-year-old SNAP member who spoke publicly of her abuse for the first time last week, called on the ICC to “take this case seriously and do the right thing.”
“I don’t want any more kids to go through what I went through,” she said.

SNAP also requested three high-ranking Vatican officials be investigated: Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, his predecessor Angelo Sodano and US Cardinal William Levada.

Levada is head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican office designated to investigate sex abuse cases forwarded to it by bishops.