Lawyers eye blueprint to shield clergy

July 30, 2003 at 1:50 PM

BOSTON, July 30 (UPI) -- A Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII outlined a 1962 Vatican procedure for shielding sexually abusive priests.

The "Crimine Solicitationis," translated as "Instructions on proceeding in cases of solicitation," states abuse cases are subject to the "papal secret" and threatens excommunication against victims who do not come forward within 30 days, according to the document given to authorities by two lawyers.

Attorneys Carmen Durso of Boston and Daniel J. Shea of Houston presented an English translation to U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan in the ongoing case of sexual abuse in the Boston-area archdiocese, the Boston Herald reported.

Shea called it "an instruction manual for a rigged trial for a priest accused of sexual crimes, including crimes against children."

A Boston archdiocese spokesman could not be reached for comment and the Herald could not verify if the document was indeed genuine.

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