Former Pope Benedict Accused of Inaction Over Child Sexual Abuse

Photo credit: AFP

Former pope Benedict XVI has been accused of failing to stop clergymen who were accused of child sexual abuse in Munich. 

A law firm carried out an investigation and found that the former pope failed to act when four clergymen were accused at the Catholic Church in Munich. Benedict was the archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982. He has “strictly” denied that he held any responsibility. 

Two of the cases involved church clergymen who had been previously proven guilty of committing several acts of sexual abuse, but despite this, they were allowed to continue as clergymen. 

The law firm Pusch of Westpfahl Spilker Wastl was tasked by the church to investigate. One of the lawyers, Martin Pusch, said that interest in the victims who were sexually abused was “not recognizable” in the former pope. 

One of the cases involved a now-notorious priest known to be a pedophile, Peter Hullermann. He was transferred from the western Germany city Essen to Munich, after he was accused in Essen of sexually abusing a boy who was 11 years old.

Despite his pedophilic history, the priest was reassigned. He was later convicted of molesting more children and was given a suspended prison sentence. By then, the pope was transferred to the Vatican. But it was even after the convictions that Hullermann kept working with children. 

The Hullermann case is known as a glaring example of how the church has mishandled or turned blind eyes to sexual abuse. 

The former pope has continued to deny knowing about Hullermann’s history. Pusch and his legal team have said that they are convinced that this is not true and that the pope did indeed know. Their report accuses Benedict of misconduct by not acting on information that he may have received on these clergymen. The pope submitted an 82-page statement to the firm as a part of the investigation. 

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