Monday, May 03, 2010

India’s Catholics Plan to Report Abuse Claims

India’s Roman Catholic bishops are planning to institute a policy of reporting all abuse allegations against priests to the police for criminal investigations, rather than just handling the cases internally, a church spokesman said.
The draft policy is a response to a rising tide of allegations worldwide that many priests who abused children were permitted to return to work with little sanction, said the Rev. Joseph Karakombil, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
It also follows a high-profile case in which an Indian priest has been accused of sexual abuse when he worked in the United States.

Father Jeyapaul had returned a year earlier to India, and after a canonical trial was permitted to return to work as a priest; he was assigned to an administrative position in the Diocese of Ootacamund and not allowed to work with children. He has declared his innocence and has said he is willing to return to the United States to face charges.
With the sexual abuse scandal growing worldwide, last month the Vatican spelled out its procedures for handling sexual abuse accusations. The guidelines said that church officials should always follow “civil laws concerning reporting of crimes” — a policy that the Vatican said was long assumed but that was never before spelled out in its policy documents.

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