A complaint filed against an alleged pedophile priest in Germany seeks to determine whether Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and other members of the clergy were guilty in a landmark case of sexual abuse of minors, according to the plaintiff’s attorney.
The so-called declaratory action was brought on behalf of a 38-year-old man from the southern state of Bavaria, who claims to have been abused by a priest as a childthe BR station reported together with the Correctiv research center and the weekly Die Zeit.
Andreas Schulz, the lawyer who brought the case before the Traunstein regional court, confirmed the information to Reuters in an email.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising He declined to comment on an ongoing court case.
The request is addressed to the priest, identified as Peter H., as well as Benedict XVI, who was archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, his successor, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, and another Church official, according to documents seen by Reuters.
The case could set a precedent in Germany’s fight against institutional abuses of the clergy if it causes a civil court pronounces for the first time time on the presumed guilt of the representatives of the Church.
The victim, who wants to remain anonymous, was between 11 and 12 years old when the priest allegedly showed him pornography and sexually abused himaccording to media information.
An article published in January about abuses in the archdiocese between 1945 and 2019 accused Benedict XVI of not having taken action against the clerics in four cases when he was Archbishop of Munich.
Benedict later acknowledged that mistakes had been made in the handling of cases while in office and apologized, while his lawyers argued that he was not directly guilty.