"When it comes to holding the Catholic Church accountable for sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy, all roads lead to Rome. That is what my organisation, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Snap), concluded after years of seeking justice in other venues and being turned away.
On 13 September, we travelled to the Hague to file an 84-page complaint and over 20,000 pages of supporting materials with the International Criminal Court, documenting our charge that the Pope and Vatican officials have tolerated and enabled the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world.
Holding childhood photographs that tell a wrenching story of innocence and faith betrayed, and joined by our attorneys from the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, we stood up and demanded the justice that has so long been denied. The New York Times called the filing "the most substantive effort yet to hold the pope and the Vatican accountable in an international court for sexual abuse by priests".
No doubt, many people of faith are shocked that we would accuse a world church leader of crimes against humanity – a man considered by many to be infallible. But the man who is infallible must also be accountable.
…While many pedophile priests have been suspended in recent years, few have been criminally charged and even fewer defrocked. Worse, no one who ignored, concealed or enabled these predators has suffered any consequences. At the head of this hierarchy of denial and secrecy is the Pope, who has served as an enabler of these men. We believe the Vatican must face investigation to determine whether these incidences have been knowingly concealed and clergymen deliberately protected when their crimes have come to light.
I know this story well, because I was sexually abused by a parish priest, from my time in junior high school until graduation…”