Pope Francis issues new Vatican City law for reporting sex abuse allegations

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By Minyvonne Burke and Claudio Lavanga

Pope Francis on Friday issued a new law for reporting sex abuse claims, saying that personnel and Holy See diplomats must immediately report allegations to Vatican City authorities.

The legislation, which also applies to “vulnerable adults,” is the first time the Vatican has made it a requirement for officials in the Roman Catholic Church to report sex abuse claims. The policy applies only to Vatican City, but is aimed at being a model for the church worldwide.

If the allegations are not immediately reported, they can be fined or face jail time.

The Pope also created a counseling service for victims of sexual abuse so they can receive psychological and medical help from “qualified personnel.”

In February, Pope Francis called abuse a “scourge” and urged bishops to “listen to the cry of the children who ask for justice.”

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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