A U.N. committee compared the Vatican's handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal with torture Monday, raising the possibility that its failure to investigate clergy and their superiors could have broader legal implications.

But the Vatican's top envoy in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, claimed that the Holy See was getting its house in order after a decade-long effort to deal with a global priest sex abuse scandal.

"There has been, in several documentable areas, stabilization and even a decline of cases in pedophilia," he told a committee of experts in charge of the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the Vatican ratified in 2002.

At the Holy See's first appearance before the committee, experts mainly peppered the Vatican with tough questions to be answered Tuesday. For instance, they asked why the report on its implementation of the treaty was almost a decade late, and why the Vatican believes its responsibility for protecting against torture only applies within tiny Vatican City, a nation of less than 1,000 inhabitants.

Read more here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/did-vatican-violate-u-n-convention-against-torture-n96986

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