Abuse case against Vatican withdrawn

Feb. 12, 2012 at 7:03 PM
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MILWAUKEE, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- A man who alleges he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest in Wisconsin has withdrawn the lawsuit he filed against the Vatican, the man's attorney says.

Jeffrey Anderson, an attorney whose clients have filed 350 of the 570 sex abuse claims filed against the Milwaukee archdiocese, said the Vatican case brought in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee in April 2010, which alleged Pope Benedict XVI, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was aware of complaints against the Rev. Lawrence Murphy, was withdrawn Friday.

Anderson said his client "felt that his energies would be best spent working alongside fellow survivors toward justice and healing at the archdiocese level."

The Vatican has insisted the pontiff, who was named as a defendant, bears no liability for the actions of individual priests.

The case ended the day after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelly let stand two claims filed by childhood sex victims, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. Kelly said the six-year statute of limitations on victims' allegations needs to be addressed at a trial.

Plaintiff attorneys said a ruling in favor of the now-bankrupt archdiocese could be instrumental in throwing out the majority of the claims, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sunday.

Anderson's client claims the since-deceased Murphy abused him in the early 1960s, beginning at age 12 when he was at the now-closed St. John School for the Deaf in St. Francis. Court records indicate Murphy may have molested up to 200 deaf boys there over 30 years.

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