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    Vatican to join seminar on online sex abuse

    ROME — The Vatican’s secretary of state is headlining an international conference on protecting children from online sexual abuse and exploitation, weeks after he recalled one of his diplomats who was caught up in a US-Canadian investigation into child pornography.

    Organizers said the arrest warrant issued for Monsignor Carlo Capella showed the need for the conference, which opens Tuesday and ends Friday, when participants will bring a set of proposals to Pope Francis.

    Cardinal Pietro Parolin will deliver the keynote address on ‘‘The Holy See and its commitment to combatting sex abuse online.’’


    Panelists include leading researchers in public health, law enforcement, and government, as well as executives from Facebook and Microsoft .

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    ‘‘The risks are everywhere,” said the Rev. Hans Zollner, conference organizer and head of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University. “It is not a western problem,’’

    Most of the panelists hail from the United States and Europe, where research into the issue of child sexual abuse is a generation ahead of other parts of the world, where the issue is still so taboo it isn’t even spoken of, much less considered viable for research funding, Zollner said.

    But invited guests hail from around the world, including delegations from China’s cyberspace administration, the head of the Russian Internet industry association, and the Saudi and UAE interior ministries.