March 28, 2010 / 1:04 PM / 10 years ago

Swiss president calls for paedophile priest register

Swiss President and Economy Minister Doris Leuthard gestures during a news conference in Bern March 25, 2010. Leuthard called on Sunday for a central register of paedophile priests, to prevent them from having further contact with children. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

GENEVA (Reuters) - Swiss President Doris Leuthard called on Sunday for a central register of paedophile priests, to prevent them from having further contact with children.

Her statement to Swiss media came as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Catholic Church worldwide, with Swiss police too investigating allegations that children were harmed by priests.

“Whether perpetrators come from the civil or clerical world makes no difference. Both are subject to Swiss criminal law, with no ifs or buts,” Leuthard said.

Leuthard said it was important to ensure that paedophiles had no further contact with children and the possibility of a register for paedophile priests should be considered, on the lines of one for teachers.

The Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung reported that the Swiss bishops’ conference was considering holding an emergency meeting, where the question of a register could be discussed, ahead of its regular annual meeting from May 31 to June 2.

The Swiss church plans to counter the negative publicity from the sex abuse scandal with an advertising campaign in which posters saying “More Good News” would be displayed in churches in each of Switzerland’s 2,000 parishes, another weekly, Sonntag, reported.

(Reporting by Jonathan Lynn)

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