Attorney Jeffrey Anderson said his client, who was identified in the suit only as John Doe, 16, wrote to the Vatican, saying the Rev. Lawrence Murphy had molested him at St. Francis School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wis., but received no response.
"That letter from a deaf man fell on deaf ears," Anderson told ABC. He said his client does not want compensation but rather wants the church to take action.
The suit names the pope, the Vatican, cardinals and other church officials.
Murphy's accusers have released documents indicating the Vatican has been aware of Murphy's actions since at least 1996. Murphy confessed to the molestations during a secret Vatican trial, ABC said.
An attorney for the Vatican called the suit meritless.