Galligan Reid PC
practice areasview our practice areas

Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Seek International Court Assistance

According to a study commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 10,667 people have made allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic priests and deacons for incidents that occurred between 1950 and 2004. Sexual abuse can leave lingering scars, and a number of clergy abuse victims are angered that Catholic Church leaders have not done more to address the issue of clergy sex abuse. Some victims asked for the international community to intervene in the matter. Some notable incidents of clergy sexual abuse in Iowa demonstrate why abuse victims are asking for international support.

Petition to the International Criminal Court

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) partnered with the Center for Constitutional Rights to request the International Criminal Court (ICC)-based in the Hague, Netherlands-to investigate why no high-ranking Church officials have faced prosecution for harboring priests who committed sexual abuse.

SNAP named the following individuals in the complaint:

  • Pope Benedict XVI (as the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and responsible for overseeing abuse cases)
  • Cardinal William Levada (as the current head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)
  • Former Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and
  • Current Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The complaint argues that Church leaders created institutional policies that perpetuated abuse. It also claims the ICC has grounds to investigate because by allowing abuse to go on, they effectively attacked a civilian population with the war crimes of rape, sexual violence and torture.

SNAP leaders acknowledge that the odds of the ICC opening an investigation are remote, but the group felt it needed to take dramatic action to prevent further children from becoming victims in the future.

Clergy Sexual Abuse in Iowa

Sexual abuse allegations against clergy in Iowa demonstrate the extent of the problem to which SNAP leaders want to call attention. In 2008, the Archdiocese of Dubuque paid $4.8 million to settle 18 sexual abuse cases against priests. In 2006, the Diocese of Davenport filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy after paying $10.5 million to settle dozens sexual abuse claims, and because of the prospect of more people filing cases against Bishop Lawrence Soens.

Many survivors struggle with the pain resulting from the abuse for years after it has ended. Finding the courage to come forward is not always easy but seeking legal recourse can help aid in healing. If you have been sexually abused by a clergy member, contact an experienced attorney who can discuss legal options available under the law with you.


No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
short formemail us for a response

Learn How We Can Help

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy