10 September 2014, The Tablet

Pope Francis appoints US priests to senior positions in abuse fight

Pope Francis has appointed two US priests to senior roles in the Vatican’s campaign to tackle sexual abuse crimes.

An American Jesuit and canon lawyer, Fr Robert Geisinger, has been named the Vatican’s chief prosecutor for serious violations of canon law like child abuse, assuming the role of promoter of justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

His predecessor in the role, Fr Robert Oliver, from Boston, Massachusetts, has been named secretary of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Fr Oliver’s time at the CDF was overshadowed by accusations from survivor groups that he had helped to cover up sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston.

While admitting they had no evidence to substantiate this claim, a spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, pointed to Fr Oliver’s role as an advisor to Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign over revelations that he had covered up abuse.

Above: US Father Oliver, Vatican's new secretary of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, attends press conference in Rome in February. Photo: CNS/Paul Haring

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