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Lawsuit against pope without merit: Vatican
Vatican City, Apr 24 (IANS/AKI)
Published on 24 Apr. 2010 11:53 PM IST
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The Vatican has rejected a lawsuit against Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican officials for failing to defrock a Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse in the US, saying that it is “completely without merit”.
The plaintiff is an alleged victim of the priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, sacked in 1974 after being accused of molesting minors at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin state.
“The case against the Holy See and its officials is completely without merit,” the Vatican said Friday, referring to a statement issued by Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican’s lawyer in the US.
“With regard to Murphy himself, the Holy See and its officials knew nothing of his crimes until decades after the abuse occurred, and had no role whatsoever in causing the plaintiff’s injuries,” it said.
The statement, however, sympathised with the victims of Murphy’s sexual abuse and said they had been wronged.
The federal lawsuit announced Thursday proposed against the pope and other top Vatican clergy was not legitimate, it said.
“The lawsuit represents an attempt to use tragic events as a platform for a broader attack. If necessary, we will respond more fully to this lawsuit in court and at the appropriate time.”
The victim’s lawyer Jeff Anderson Thursday said in St Paul city that he sent certified letters to the Vatican in 1995 asking for Murphy to be defrocked but he received no response.
A report in the New York Times last month said Benedict, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the Vatican’s disciplinary body from 1981-2005, prevented Murphy being tried in a Catholic court, after the priest wrote a pleading letter to Ratzinger asking for his “assistance in this matter”.

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