Advertisement

U.S. suit seeks IDs of accused Catholic priests, 'secret' evidence at Vatican

By Nicholas Sakelaris
U.S. suit seeks IDs of accused Catholic priests, 'secret' evidence at Vatican
The lawsuit asks the Vatican to turn over to authorities "secretly" held evidence in abuse cases. File Photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI | License Photo

May 14 (UPI) -- Five Minnesota men are expected to file a lawsuit Tuesday against the Vatican in an effort to order the Roman Catholic Church to release names and files involving thousands of clergy who've been accused of sex abuse.

The lawsuit asks a federal court to order the Vatican to disclose 3,400 names of priests who were referred to the Holy See following "credible claims" of abuse.

Advertisement

The men filing the suit, who say they were abused by Catholic leaders as children, include three brothers who were involved in a case that ultimately led to criminal charges in 2015 against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. They said they were abused by former St. Paul parish priest Curtis Wehmeyer in a scandal that also led former Archbishop John Neinstedt to resign over accusations he failed to act against a priest with a history of abuse.

Wehmeyer pleaded guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct and child pornography.

RELATED Pope Francis decrees new law to fight sex abuse, cover-up

Attorney Jeff Anderson has filed several lawsuits against the Vatican and will represent the five plaintiffs in the new case. He said the suit is a direct response to Pope Francis' announcement last week of a new Catholic law that mandates all priests and nuns to report known cases of abuse and cover-ups. The new law signaled a major change in the way the church handles abuse accusations, but some victims have criticized the edict, saying cases should be reported to law enforcement, not the church.

Advertisement

In addition to obtaining the names of abusers in the church, the lawsuit also asks the Vatican to turn over all evidence "held secretly" in papal offices.

The brothers, who haven't been named, are expected to demand greater sanctions against Nienstedt.

RELATED At least 207 killed, 450 hurt in eight church, hotel bombings in Sri Lanka

Anderson and the three brothers will further detail the lawsuit early Tuesday afternoon.

"They will speak publicly for the first time about their reason for taking this bold action involving Nienstedt and the Vatican allowing him to remain at large and in good standing," Anderson said.

RELATED Paris' historic Notre-Dame Cathedral saved from 'total destruction'

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement