Monday, March 29, 2010

20 priests accused of sex abuse (Germany), U.S. lawyer takes on Vatican

20 priests accused of sex abuse - diocese March 29 2010
Berlin - A German Roman Catholic diocese said on Monday that 20 of its current and former priests had been accused "in recent weeks" of sexual abuse as a scandal embroiling the Church widened....
Ackermann said the diocese was still conferring on how to handle three cases that fell under the criminal statute of limitations.
He said that beyond the new cases that had surfaced, three priests had been convicted of abuse in the 1990s....The Vatican has said it received 3,000 reports between 2001 and 2010 of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy committed over the past 50 years.

U.S. lawyer takes on Vatican over abuse cases
He shared documents with New York Times, sees Ore. lawsuit as critical
by Patrick Condon AP March. 28, 2010 ST. PAUL, Minn. - Jeff Anderson has filed thousands of lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests and won tens of millions of dollars for his clients, but he has had a bigger goal in mind for nearly two decades. He wants to bring his career-long legal crusade against misconduct in the Roman Catholic Church right to the top. He would love to question Pope Benedict XVI himself under oath. Though that is extremely unlikely given that the pope is a head of state, documents Anderson has unearthed have the potential to take a scandal that has plagued dozens of dioceses around the world and place it at the doorstep of Vatican leadership.
The documents, which became publicly known in the past week after Anderson shared them with The New York Times, show that a Vatican office led by the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, halted a church trial against a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting some 200 boys at a school for the deaf. "This is a tipping point," Anderson said. He found the documents in handling one of the dozens of lawsuits he has pending against various church officials, and hopes to use them to bolster a separate federal lawsuit against the Vatican itself....

Oregon case could be key
In that case, an unidentified plaintiff claims he was sexually abused as a teenager in 1965 or 1966 by the Rev. Andrew Ronan at St. Albert's Church in Portland, Ore. According to court documents, Ronan was accused of abusing boys in the mid-1950s as a priest in the Archdiocese of Armagh, Ireland. He was transferred to Chicago, where he admitted abusing three boys at St. Philip's High School, and after that was sent to Oregon. The church removed Ronan from the priesthood in 1966. He died in 1982. The lawsuit says the Vatican had to approve the international transfer. The Holy See claims it is protected by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which prohibits U.S. lawsuits against foreign countries. Several lower courts have produced differing rulings on the suit, and the Holy See has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the question. The high court has not decided whether it will hear the case. Anderson said his legal team will attempt to use documents from the Milwaukee lawsuit to show the Vatican was heavily involved in decisions about how to deal with problem priests.

Vatican confirms report of sexual abuse and rape of nuns by priests in 23 countries By Frances Kennedy in Rome 21 March 2001
The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries have been sexually abusing nuns.
Most of the abuse has occurred in Africa, where priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on nuns to avoid contracting the Aids virus.
Confidential Vatican reports obtained by the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly magazine in the US, have revealed that members of the Catholic clergy have been exploiting their financial and spiritual authority to gain sexual favours from nuns, particularly those from the Third World who are more likely to be culturally conditioned to be subservient to men.

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