Church formulating guidelines to deal with sexual abuse cases
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Last Updated: Sunday, May 02, 2010, 13:36
New Delhi: Rattled by increasing complaints of sexual assault by priests, the Catholic Church in India is formulating "holistic" guidelines for dealing with cases of all forms of abuse of children in its institutions.

The guidelines, which will be finalised by June after consulting all dioceses, include reporting of any form of abuse by priests or others associated with Church to police and expelling "guilty" priests.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), the apex body of the Catholic Church in the country, has given final touches to the guidelines at its conference in Bangalore recently.

"We have a zero-tolerance towards any form of abuse of children. We are formulating holistic guidelines to deal with cases of physical and psychological abuse. This is not restricted to sexual abuse alone," Babu Joseph, a CBCI spokesperson, said.

"We will not shield anybody. We will report to police matters which are needed to be reported to them," Joseph said.

The Catholic Church is in the eye of a storm over alleged sexual abuse by priests, which include the recent case of Indian priest Rev Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul who was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage parishioner in Minnesota in the United States.

Joseph said those found guilty of sexual abuse or any other form of abuse will have to face the law of the land.

"Besides this, we will also take action against them. It can be suspension from duties or expelling him from church," he said.

Noting that the Church is not going to take "any hasty step," he said they will be formulating guidelines on how to protect children in church institutions like orphanages, special homes and schools.

"The guidelines are not just for punishing the clergy. We will also address the issue of how to ensure the safety of children in our institutions," he said.


First Published: Sunday, May 02, 2010, 13:36

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