MOSCOW, May 6 (RIA Novosti) – The United Nations Torture Committee has called for Catholic priests found to have sexually abused children to face the same legal punishment as for torture, The Los Angeles Times has reported.
The UN Committee insisted that all cases of child sexual abuse fall under the UN Convention Against Torture and should be brought to the committee's consideration, the paper reported Monday.
That would imply punishment for all clerics who knew about abuse cases but did not report them, and will allow legal investigation into old cases, which the Vatican has said it has dealt with on its own.
The issue was raised by the UN following criticism of the Catholic Church’s mild reaction to multiple pedophilia cases involving its clergy. In 2011 and 2012, some 400 priests were defrocked under the former Pope Benedict XVI.
On Monday, the Vatican appeared for the first time before the UN committee since signing the 2002 Convention Against Torture.
Priests went through a two-hour questioning on specific cases, as well as legal actions in the Holy See and the city-state.
The Vatican is to deliver its formal answers on Tuesday. The committee will officially report on the issue at the end of May.