AFP
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Obama administration in a brief to the Supreme Court has backed the Vatican’s claim of immunity from lawsuits arising from cases of sexual abuse by priests in the United States.

The Supreme Court is considering an appeal by the Vatican of an appellate court ruling that lifted its immunity in the case of an alleged pedophile priest from Oregon.

In recent months, large-scale pedophilia scandals have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in a number of countries, including Austria, Ireland, Pope Benedict XVI’s native Germany and the United States.

Senior clerics have been accused of protecting the priests involved by moving them to other parishes — where they sometimes offended again — instead of handing them over to civil authorities for prosecution.

The pope, who has himself faced allegations implicating him in the scandal, has repeatedly said priests and religious workers guilty of child abuse should answer for their crimes in courts of law.

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