Church Sex Abuse Victims Bring Case to International Criminal Court

Posted September 13th, 2011 at 8:40 pm (UTC-5)
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A group representing church sex abuse victims is asking the International Criminal Court to investigate Roman Catholic leaders, including Pope Benedict, for alleged crimes against humanity.

Officials with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests submitted more than 20,000 pages of material to the Hague court Tuesday. They charge the pope and other top church officials helped cover up incidents of sex abuse and violence against children and protected guilty priests.

The attorneys say the treaty setting up the International Criminal Court lists rape, sexual violence, and torture as crimes against humanity.

The Vatican's U.S. lawyer tells the Associated Press that the lawsuit is a “ludicrous publicity stunt” and the chances of the court prosecuting church leaders are small.

Vatican officials have repeatedly apologized for sex abuse by priests and reaffirmed church policy forbidding such behavior. Some local churches have paid victims millions of dollars in settlements.