Former Pope Accused Of Misconduct In Multiple Child Abuse Cases
Former pope Benedict XVI has been accused of misconduct in multiple child abuse cases.
The accusations come from law firm Spilker Westphal Wastl following an investigation in Germany that sought to analyse how abuse cases were dealt with in the archdiocese of Munich and Freising between the years of 1945 and 2019.
The report was commissioned by the Munich archdiocese, which said it will examine ‘whether those responsible complied with legal requirements… and acted appropriately in dealing with suspected cases and possible perpetrators’.
Benedict, whose name is Josef Ratzinger, was accused in a report released by the law firm this week of failing to act on information he allegedly received in four child abuse cases.
Commenting on the allegations, per CNN, lawyer Martin Pusch said:
He was informed about the facts. We believe that he can be accused of misconduct in four cases. Two of these cases concern abuses committed during his tenure and sanctioned by the state. In both cases, the perpetrators remained active in pastoral care.
The misconduct is said to have taken place during his time working as archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, during which time a now-notorious paedophile priest named Peter Hullermann was transferred to Munich after being accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy, according to France 24.
In spite of Hullermann’s history, he reassigned to pastoral duties and continued to work with children for many years even after being convicted.
Benedict, who is now 94 years old, has denied knowing about the priest’s history, but reformist Catholic group ‘Wir sind Kirche’ (We are Church) has urged the former pope to take responsibility for the alleged misconduct.
In a statement, it said, ‘An admission by Ratzinger that through his actions or inactions, knowledge or ignorance, he was personally and professionally complicit in the suffering of many young people would be… an example for many other bishops and responsible persons.’
In response to the law firm, the former pope released a statement that said he ‘takes the fates of the abuse victims very much to heart’ and is fully ‘in favour of the publication of the Munich report’.
Benedict became the first Pope in centuries to resign when he stepped down from his duties in 2013.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111
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