Pope, Vatican sued over pedophilia case

A 16-year-old "John Doe" from Illinois, who claims the late Rev. Lawrence Murphy of Wisconsin sexually abused him as a child, filed a federal lawsuit on April 22 against Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican officials for allegedly failing to protect children from Murphy, Associated Press reports via Google News.

John Doe claims Murphy molested him for years at the St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee, U.S.A. Accused of sexually abusing about 200 boys during his time at the school (1950 to 1974), Murphy died in 1998 as a defendant in a canonical trial.

Recently, documents were released suggesting that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now the Pope, and the Vatican office he led back then "failed to aggressively discipline Murphy." According to the court document filed by John Doe, this was because Murphy was a "top fundraiser and recruiter," the suit states, CNN.com reports.

"The defendant, [the] Holy See, has known about the widespread problem of childhood sexual abuse committed by its clergy for centuries, but has covered up that abuse and thereby perpetuated the abuse," the suit adds.

The lawsuit seeks the release of Vatican files that contain accusations against the clergy, unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial. The lawsuit doesn't offer proof but it claims to be based on "information and belief."

The Vatican hasn't commented as of posting time.

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