Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 4 May 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Vatican has preteen age of sexual consent

Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic couldn’t believe an e-mail he got that said the age of sexual consent in Vatican City is 12. In his column, The Dish, he wrote that the Vatican Embassy wasn’t helpful but that the Italian Embassy was:

“Vatican State has its own criminal system based on the former Italian criminal code (called ‘Zanardelli Code,’ issued in 1889). Art. 331 (1) of this code provides that the age of consent is set at 12 years old, but according to Art. 331 (2) when there is a relationship of dependence (like teacher/student/etc.) the age of consent is 15 years.

“This law applies to criminal suspects arrested in Vatican City. Whereas, if a sexual offense occurs in Vatican State but the suspect is arrested in Italy, he/she is tried under Italian criminal law, based on ‘Rocco Code,’ issued in 1930. According to article 609 quarter of this code, the age of consent is set at 14 years old or 16 years old if there is a relation of dependence.”

Sara Porro, Matteo Orlando
Consular and Justice Affairs Office
Embassy of Italy

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