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For Immediate Release

Major Human Rights Report Affirms That Sexual Abuse by the Clergy is "Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment"

CCR Welcomes Amnesty International Report in Wake of Sept. 13 International Criminal Court Filing Against the Pope and Top Vatican Officials, Seeking Accountability for Clergy Sexual Abuse


In response to the release of a major human rights report on clerical sexual abuse, released today by Amnesty International in Ireland, CCR issued the following statement from Pamela Spees, Senior Staff Attorney:

Amnesty International Ireland's release today of a major human rights report on clergy sexual abuse marks another important step in the journey towards holding Vatican officials accountable for the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world.

Indeed, as the Amnesty report makes clear in more than 400 pages of documentation, the abuse of children "included acts that amounted to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment."

The Amnesty International report, titled In Plain Sight: Responding to the Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports, includes a summary of four previous investigations into abuse by clergy in Ireland, which were also summarized and discussed in CCR's September 13th complaint to the International Criminal Court.

According to Colm O'Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, "The abuse of tens of thousands of Irish children is perhaps the greatest human rights failure in the history of the state. Much of the abuse described in the Ryan Report meets the legal definition of torture under international human rights law."

The report makes clear what happens when governmental authorities cede their responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of vulnerable children and adults to a church that can't be trusted with it, or with their children.

On behalf of CCR, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and all survivors of clergy sexual abuse, we welcome this further validation of those whose lives were devastated and betrayed by those they trusted most.

In the coming months, CCR will continue to gather information and evidence of additional crimes of rape and sexual violence and associated cover ups by the Catholic Church. We continue to urge all members of the clergy, church officials, and anyone else with information about sexual violence against children to come forward. The 22,000 pages of evidence presented in the ICC filing is only a small fraction of the evidence already available. Far more must exist given the nature and magnitude of these crimes and the reach of the church. Hundreds of current and former Vatican employees have information about sexual assaults against children. Silence is complicity. It's time for church employees at every level to search their consciences and share their knowledge of these crimes and cover ups.

For more information on the case and copies of the complaint visit:

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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