Vatican issues new tough rules against sex abuse

By John Jalsevac

VATICAN CITY, July 16, 2010 ( – Critics of the Catholic Church’s handling of the sex-abuse scandals finally got what they wanted from the Vatican this week – a sweeping new set of guidelines on how to deal with sex abuse allegations that will be applied on a global scale.

The document, issued yesterday, includes provisions for the automatic excommunication of and laicization or “defrocking” for any priest who sexually abuses a minor. Additionally, priests who are found to have used child pornography or who abuse the mentally ill or disabled face the same penalty – the most severe possible in the Church’s law.

Also noteworthy, the new norms extend the period of limitations for sex abuse allegations from ten to twenty years after the victim’s 18th birthday, allowing adult victims who were abused in childhood the opportunity to lodge formal complaints, and put in place “fast-tracking” procedures to deal with serious allegations. (Source)

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