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Pope sets new rules for sex abuse claims.

Byline: Associated Press

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has issued sweeping new sex abuse legislation for the Vatican City State and Vatican diplomats that requires the immediate reporting of allegations to Vatican prosecutors, as he seeks to create a model policy for the Catholic Church.

The mandatory reporting provision, while limited in scope to Vatican officials, marks the first time the Holy See has put into law requirements for Catholic officials to report allegations of sex crimes to police or face fines and possible jail time.

Francis also issued child protection guidelines for Vatican City State and its youth seminary, acting after the global sex abuse scandal exploded anew last year and The Associated Press reported that the headquarters of the Catholic Church had no policy to protect children.

The new law covers all personnel who live in or work for the Vatican and any abuse that occurs in the Vatican, the 110-acre city state in the center of Rome and its other territories, as well as the Holy See's vast diplomatic corps.

The Vatican's own ambassadors have figured in some of the most scandalous cases of sex abuse in recent years, with papal representatives accused of groping, distributing child pornography and sexually abusing minors.

The provisions to punish them criminally are now contained in the city state's criminal code, and are separate from the canon law which also imposes canonical penalties, such as defrocking, for predator priests worldwide.

The law now requires any Vatican public official who learns of an allegation of abuse within the law's jurisdiction to report it to Vatican prosecutors "without delay."

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Title Annotation:World_
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:4EXVA
Date:Mar 30, 2019
Words:265
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