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UN body says US lax on clerical sex abuse cases

Published on Feb 19, 2013 8:27 AM

VATICAN CITY (REUTERS) - A UN committee has accused US legal authorities of failing to fully pursue cases of child sex abuse in religious groups, an issue especially troubling the Roman Catholic Church.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child wrote this month that it was "deeply concerned" to find widespread sexual abuse by clerics and staff of religious institutions and "a lack of measures ... to properly investigate cases and prosecute them".

Britain's National Secular Society, which drew attention on Monday to the little-noticed report, said it hoped the Catholic pope to be elected next month would open Church files to help prosecute as yet undiscovered cases of clerical sexual abuse.

The scandal of predator priests has haunted the pontificate of Pope Benedict, who will resign on Feb 28. The pope has apologised for the abuse and met victims in several countries, but cases and damning internal files are still coming to light.

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