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Man alleging abuse sues German Catholic priest, pope emeritus

Published June 22,2022
A man who claims to have been the victim of abuse has filed a lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator, a German Catholic priest, as well as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

According to reports from Bavarina broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, research centre Correctiv and newspaper Die Zeit, the lawsuit is also directed against the Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and another former archbishop, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter.

A regional court in Traunstein, in south-eastern Bavaria, confirmed to dpa on Wednesday that it had received the complaint, but did not provide names or details.

According to media reports, the plaintiff is a 38-year-old man from Bavaria who alleges he was sexually abused by the priest as a child.

With regard to Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict, the complaint alleges that, as cardinal, he had "knowledge of all the circumstances" and "at least accepted that this priest would be a repeat offender."

The pope emeritus did not initially respond to enquiries about the complaint.

A spokesman for the archdiocese said: "Please understand that the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising does not comment on ongoing legal proceedings."

Due to the statute of limitations, the lawsuit can only establish the guilt of the perpetrator and result in damages being imposed, media reports said.

An expert report commissioned by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and presented in January had concluded that cases of sexual abuse in the diocese were not dealt with adequately for decades.

The report also accuses Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI of misconduct in several cases.