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Catholic World News

Vatican served with papers in Milwaukee abuse lawsuit

April 13, 2011

Minnesota-based attorney Jeffrey Anderson has successfully served the Vatican with legal papers in a sex-abuse lawsuit in which he seeks to include the Pope as defendant.

The case, involving abuse that occurred in the 1960s in a Catholic school for the deaf in Wisconsin, alleges that the future Pontiff was made aware of the abuse and discouraged disciplinary action against the priest involved. In fact the record shows that the then-Cardinal Ratzinger was not informed about the case until 1996, when the accused priest was close to death. The case fell under the jurisdiction of the Milwaukee archdiocese.

Anderson filed his lawsuit in April of last year, but originally failed to follow the proper protocol for serving papers through diplomatic channels. The Vatican eventually accepted service voluntarily, on a request from a US federal judge.

The lawsuit still faces a steep uphill battle. Even before attempting to prove that the Pope was negligent, Anderson must overcome the legal argument that the Roman Pontiff, as a sovereign head of state, is immune from lawsuits.


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Apr. 13, 2011 10:16 PM ET USA

    Riddle: What is more despicable than a child-molesting priest?