The week at a glance ... Europe
LondonChildren as sex offenders: Two boys, ages 10 and 11, were convicted in adult court this week of attempting to rape an 8-year-old girl, sparking an outcry among child advocates. The girl originally claimed that the boys had dragged her to a shed and raped her, but under cross-examination, she said she’d made up the story to avoid getting in trouble for not being home. Still, the judge let the jury decide which account to believe. Child-welfare advocates say all of the children were too young to have been either defendants or witnesses, and many legal experts agreed. “We’ve been witnessing a spectacle that has no place in an intelligent society,” said Britain’s former chief prosecutor, Sir Ken MacDonald. The boys face sentences ranging from probation to incarceration in a juvenile facility, and they will have to register as sex offenders. England tries anyone over age 10 in adult court.
Frombork, PolandCopernicus laid to rest, again: Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer who was posthumously branded a heretic by the Vatican for proclaiming shortly before his death that the sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system, has finally been given a Catholic funeral. Copernicus never achieved fame in his lifetime, and he was buried in an unmarked grave. Recently his bones were identified through DNA testing, and this week he was buried in a tomb in Frombork Cathedral, with a model of the solar system engraved on his tombstone. “Today’s funeral has symbolic value,” said Bishop Jacek Jezierski, “in that it is a gesture of reconciliation between science and faith.”