The U.S. Department of State notified the Vatican on August 21 that one of its diplomats had possibly violated laws related to pornographic images of children through diplomatic channels, and requested the waiver.
The Vatican said Friday that it has recalled the diplomat in question, whose name has not been released, and opened its own investigation into the matter.
The Vatican is still rescuing its perverts from having to face justice. What happened to the idea that Catholic priests would face justice in the country where they committed their crimes?
"The Holy See, following the practice of sovereign states, recalled the priest in question, who is currently in Vatican City," Vatican officials said in a statement.
"The Promoter of Justice opened an investigation and has already commenced international collaboration to obtain elements relative to the case."
State Department officials said a request for the Vatican to waive diplomatic immunity for the individual, who is said to be part of the administrative and technical staff at the Vatican embassy, was denied.
The Vatican has previously recalled a diplomatic official, recalling then ambassador to the Dominican Republic Jozef Wesolowski in 2013 on allegations he sexually abused children. While he was defrocked, Wesolowski died before standing trial.
The Independent Online
The Icelandic Prime Minister has called a snap parliamentary election following allegations his party covered up a child sex abuse scandal involving his father.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Benediktsson said: "We have lost the majority and I don't see anything that indicates we can regain that... I am calling an election."
He said he hoped the fresh elections could be held in November.
His Independence Party are accused of trying to conceal a letter written by his father, Benedikt Sveinsson, recommending that his friend, Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson – who was convicted in 2004 for repeatedly raping his stepdaughter from the age of five to 17 – have his "honour restored".
Under Icelandic law, "restoring honour" means a person can have their "civil standing" restored – allowing people with serious convictions to apply for certain jobs without erasing their criminal records.
All that is required for "restoring honour" is a letter of recommendation from a close friend. The law was introduced in 1940 and was originally designed to restore convicted criminals' right to vote.
The existence of the letter first came to light in July but Justice Minister Sigridur Andersen, a member of the Independence Party, initially refused to make its contents public until she was forced to by a parliamentary committee.
Ms Andersen told broadcaster Stod 2 that she had informed Mr Benediktsson about his father's involvement in July but had not told anyone else.
The fall of Mr Benediktsson's government, which took two months to negotiate and form, comes just over a year after Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson was forced to resign after the publishing of the Panama Papers which revealed his family had allegedly attempted to hide millions in offshore accounts.
Two years ago, Justice Paul Walker of the B.C. Supreme Court handed down one of the most scathing indictments ever brought against a government agency. Specifically, he found that the province’s child-protection service abused its authority by allowing a father to molest his child while the toddler was in government care.
Walker called this failure egregious, negligent and a breach of duty. And he called out the offending social workers, by name or by title, alleging they had demonstrated “a reckless disregard for their obligation to protect children.”
Last week, the other shoe dropped. The B.C. Court of Appeal overturned that judgment, in a ruling every bit as scathing as Walker’s.
The case dates back to 2009. In the midst of a nasty divorce proceeding, there were duelling claims by a husband and wife that each had physically abused the other. The police were called in, and eventually decided there was no evidence of criminal conduct by the husband.
The wife then alleged her husband sexually abused one of their children. She later changed her story and alleged he assaulted several of the youngsters.
The husband claimed his wife had mental-health issues, and she made the same complaint about him. In short, a hellishly tangled scene.
Just reading the Appeal Court’s ruling brings home the sheer complexity of the case, and the near impossibility of ascertaining, with any certainty, where the truth lay. Here, if ever, was a situation that cried out for caution.
Nevertheless, into this mess strode Walker, broadcasting certainty in the midst of confusion. And he sided unambiguously with the mother, while scarifying in intemperate language those social workers who earned his disfavour.
Now, we need to pause here. Appeal courts are just as capable of getting it wrong as lower courts. There is always the possibility that the Supreme Court of Canada, if the case goes that far, might side with Walker.
Yet this much we can be certain of. The Appeal Court found that Walker admitted, and based much of his reasoning on, the testimony of an “expert witness” who stands revealed as, quite simply, a fraud.
Reeves’ university degrees were all obtained from fake universities that sell diplomas for cash. Here is how her PhD program is advertised online: “This program offers you an opportunity to earn a doctorate’s degree [sic] based on your work or life experience, without requiring you to take admission exams, attend classes, or study course books.” So much for her qualifications.
Then a review of expert-witness databases back to 1980 found not 52 cases where she had testified, but only three, and in one of those her testimony was rejected as unbelievable and non-credible.
She never interviewed either the children or the father before forming her conclusions, a failing that should have sent up red flags.
So several professional lives were put at risk, one social worker received death threats at home, and the father was branded a child abuser, in large part on the advice of a fraud.
Where is their compensation? When do they get an apology?
And just as important, how do we stop this happening again? The Appeal Court found that Walker failed in his role as “gatekeeper” by allowing Reese to testify despite complaints by government lawyers that her qualifications were spurious.
In other professions, failures of this kind can have career-ending consequences. It would be comforting to imagine that here, but like the Mississippi, the system keeps rolling along.
Amnesty international is a global NGO focused on drawing attention to human rights abuses in order to mobilise public opinion. It has been in Paraguay since 1991.
In Paraguay, child sexual abuse is a silent threat. Every week new cases appear in the media. But most of them are never reported.
Every year more than 700 unwanted pregnancies by girls aged between 10 and 14 are reported, that’s approximately two each day making Paraguay the country with the second highest number in all of LATAM. But what is seen is not the full picture of abuse. In fact, in April of 2015 the case of a 10 years old girl, who was 21 weeks pregnant after being sexually abused by her stepfather, shocked the nation. This case was followed by more cases as many girls found the courage to come forward and report abuses.
Amnesty International decided it was time to step in to generate action, prevent and end these grave abuses on children.
But this endeavour was not an easy one as the lack of sexual education in Paraguayan schools and at home caused by the taboos that surround the theme was an important barrier to get people talking and acting to stop these violations.
It needed to reach to find a direct path to the potential victims to educate them, while at the same time, triggering interest and action from parents and teachers, moreover, the method had to be one that would immediately grab children’s attention and hands on educationally speaking.
Research demonstrates that children need to have direct experience with the world in order to make sense of and learn about it, and toys, particularly dolls.
Doll play lets children work through strong emotions.
Amnesty International has used a doll to accomplish the objectives of preventing and educating about sexual abuse, targeting children and at the same time, involving parents and teachers.
Research demonstrates that children need to have direct experience with the world in order to make sense of and learn about it, and toys, particularly dolls, are one way they can do this. Doll play lets children work through strong emotions.
As the insights revealed, one of Paraguay's greatest disadvantages in regards to creating awareness around this delicate issue is that sexual education is absent from their schools and family talk because of Paraguayan cultural norms, and so this gave agency Kausa Havas an idea.
It would use a doll to accomplish Amnesty International’s objective of preventing and educating about sexual abuse, targeting children and at the same time, involving parents and teachers.
Because in 90% of cases the abuser is part of the family environment the intention was clear: it wanted to give children a tool to help them understand and learn how to react to an attempted abuse.
Amnesty International released Aramí and Amaru, a doll to prevent the sexual abuse. When children pressed the doll’s private parts, it reproduced a sound alerting them with a message with a child’s voice.
To amplify this initiative, the agency used a pure press release campaign and it started with a bang. It strategically distributed 200 dolls to Influencers, journalists, teachers and renowned psychologist in the capital and waited patiently for the effect.
This resulted in free publicity, and as the dolls caught the attention of various journalists, it started to appear in various TV networks, local and foreign such as CNN, BBC, Red O Globo, Upsocl, Reuters, Telemundo and many others.
The agency further amplified the initial effects with a concerted social media campaign based on a video that presented the doll and the current state of child abuse in the country. It was present on Facebook and YouTube.
Emboldened by the initial results, in the second phase it created a manual to help school teachers use the dolls efficiently and to start talking about sexual education with their students. The manual was written in collaboration with psychologists and teachers.
The campaign garnered a good deal of attention and substantial results. It achieved over 85 million media impressions, most of them free publicity, a first for any campaign in the country.
The story was reported in all major Paraguayan, regional and global media outlets, with prestigious names such as: CNN BBC, Reuters, Telemundo and many others.
Earned media value for these appearances was $15m.
On its social channels, the campaign raked 2.2 million views on YouTube and increased AI’s fans on Facebook by 150% with such a limited amount of investment that it is not even worth mentioning, the 1st phase bore the brunt of the amplification effect.
And the best bit?
The level of acceptance this campaign had with children, parents, teachers and the Paraguayan society, not to mention the rest of the world was complete.
The Paraguayan government took over the campaign by making the Anti-abuse dolls part of the 2017 educational programme. The teachers will use the dolls as prevention tools for children.
Estrela, the most important toy producer in America, opened a factory in Paraguay to produce 20K Dolls destined to school.
Argentina’s Ministry of Education is seeking to implement the same project.
The OEI (Organization of Ibero-American States) requested dolls for the Indian communities of Paraguay and are translating the messages in the language or dialect of each community.
It also received doll orders from countries like Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, and France.