I think you’ve misunderstood the article, Caudi. The oath to secrecy was part of a Canon Law Court trial of the accused. The oath was administered by that court, not by the priest(s) receiving the initial accusation(s), did not preclude concurrent reporting, etc., to civil authorities (which, obviously, could lead to a criminal investigation and prosecution), and some aspects lasted only for the duration of the trial.
Some of the article relevant to my preceding comment:
Section 11 of Crimen sollicitationis outlines the required confidentiality of the investigation into accusations of the crime of solicitation. The document imposed absolute confidentiality on the trial’s proceedings (explicitly excepting “what may happen to be lawfully published when this process is concluded and put into effect”, the term, “published,” meaning “publication of the evidence” in Canon Law, or the conclusion of the “discovery phase” in a civil trial, before the verdict is rendered), both during its conduct and after any concluding verdict had been put into effect:
Interviewed for a television programme in 2006, canon lawyer Thomas Doyle described the tight secrecy demanded for the procedure as “an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy, to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by churchmen”. However, in the study of the instruction that he revised less than two years later he stated: “According to the 1922 and 1962 documents, accusers and witnesses are bound by the secrecy obligation during and after the process but certainly not prior to the initiation of the process. There is no basis to assume that the Holy See envisioned this process to be a substitute for any secular legal process, criminal or civil. It is also incorrect to assume, as some have unfortunately done, that these two Vatican documents are proof of a conspiracy to hide sexually abusive priests or to prevent the disclosure of sexual crimes committed by clerics to secular authorities.” He also remarked: “To fully understand the overriding concern for secrecy one must also understand the traditional canonical concept known as the ‘Privilege of the Forum’ privilegium fori which has its roots in medieval Canon Law. Basically this is a traditional privilege claimed by the institutional church whereby clerics accused of crimes were tried before ecclesiastical courts and not brought before civil or secular courts. Although this privilege is anachronistic in contemporary society, the attitude or mentality which holds clerics accountable only to the institutional church authorities is still active. This does not mean that the official Church believes that clerics accused of crimes should not to be held accountable. It means that during certain periods in history the Church has believed that it alone should have the right to subject accused clerics to a judicial process.”
John L. Allen, Jr. has said the secrecy was aimed rather at the protection of all involved, the accused, the victim/denouncer and the witnesses, before the verdict was passed, and for free finding of facts.
There are a lot of aspects to this that are alien to US citizens familiar with the US court systems. It embodied (it became advisory in 1983 and was replaced in 2001, IIRC) elements from centuries of Roman, Medieval and European legal thought. It was different, and was doubtless exploited and misused … much as our modern legal system can be and too often is.
Let me stipulate that this policy was used to shield abusers. Let me further stipulate that there is no equivalent document among educators. So what? Catholic Church officials have shielded abusers; public school system officials have shielded abusers. How are either substantially different from the POV of the abused and the endangered?