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Vatican urges online protections for kids amid porn scandal

  • Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin prepares to speak at the Gregorian University in Rome, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. The Vatican secretary of state urged law enforcement agencies, governments and social networking sites on Tuesday to take responsibility to protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation, even as one of his diplomats is caught up in an international child porn investigation. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini

  • Father Hans Zollner speaks at the Gregorian University in Rome on Tuesday. AP

  • Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin speaks at the Gregorian University in Rome, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. The Vatican secretary of state urged law enforcement agencies, governments and social networking sites on Tuesday to take responsibility to protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation, even as one of his diplomats is caught up in an international child porn investigation. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Andrew Medichini



Associated Press
Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Vatican secretary of state urged law enforcement agencies, governments and social media sites on Tuesday to take responsibility to protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation – a statement that came even as one of his diplomats is caught up in an international child porn investigation.

Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the case of Monsignor Carlo Capella was “very painful” for all involved.

Parolin said the Vatican was treating the Capella case with “utmost concern, utmost commitment” but also confidentiality to protect the integrity of the investigation. He spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Catholic Church-sponsored conference on protecting children from online threats.

Canadian police have issued an arrest warrant for Capella, accusing him of accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography during a visit to an Ontario church over Christmas. He is now in the Vatican after being recalled from the Vatican’s embassy in the U.S.

Vatican prosecutors have also opened an investigation into Capella’s actions.

Parolin – Capella’s boss – headlined the opening of the four-day conference on protecting children online that has drawn leading researchers in public health, Interpol, the U.N., government representatives as well as executives from Facebook and Microsoft.

The conference ends Friday with proposals being presented to Pope Francis.

Parolin urged participants to “regain control of the development of the digital world” to make sure children are protected, saying companies that promote and drive the digital world have a particular responsibility.