A trial opened last month in the Vatican’s criminal tribunal for two priests – one accused of sexually abusing an altar boy in the Vatican’s youth seminary and the other accused of covering it up. The trial is the first of its kind to be held within the Vatican.
The Vatican tribunal is comprised of a president and four judges who are chosen from university professors and jurists, with proven experience in civil, criminal or administrative matters.
On 16 July, the Vatican released guidelines for bishops and other senior officials setting out clear and detailed rules on how to deal with clerical child sex abuse claims.
The manual (which includes a form to be filled out detailing the alleged crime against the minors involved) does not include any new laws, but has been drawn up at the express request of Pope Francis who called for procedures to be laid out step-by-step to avoid any further confusion in the area.
On 17 December, 2019, his 83rd birthday, Pope Francis announced long awaited changes to the rules governing how the Roman Catholic Church deals with cases of sexual abuse of children.
Latest developments in the Roman Catholic investigation have included further dates and that the Vatican has refused to co-operate with IICSA’s requests to provide witness evidence about child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
IICSA was told, on 25 September 2019 at a preliminary hearing about the investigation into the Roman Catholic Church, that the Vatican considered the requests made to it by IICSA were improper and it said that its officials were protected by diplomatic immunity.