By NICOLE WINFIELD
ROME (AP) — The Catholic Church’s foremost research institute studying sexual abuse of minors is expanding its mandate to also include the sexual and spiritual abuse of adults. The Rev. Hans Zollner, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers on abuse, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the institute’s broader scope reflects lessons from the #MeToo movement, the pope’s own recognition that nuns and seminarians can be abused, and evidence of systemic problems in the church. Zollner spoke to the AP on the eve of the official launch of the new safeguarding institute based at the Pontifical Gregorian University. As a Vatican-sanctioned department, the institute can now award academic degrees and have its own dedicated faculty.