Wisconsin Lawyer for accuser: Vatican rejected lawsuit

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The attorney for a man who says he was sexually abused decades ago by a now-deceased priest at a Wisconsin school for the deaf says the Vatican has refused to be served with a lawsuit over the matter.

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who frequently clashes with the Catholic hierarchy over abuse allegations, said in a news release that his office tried to serve the lawsuit naming Pope Benedict XVI and other high-ranking officials at the Vatican as defendants, but that it was returned via Federal Express.

Anderson's client, listed in court papers as John Doe, is a deaf man from Illinois who alleged in his lawsuit that the late Rev. Lawrence Murphy molested him for a number of years while Murphy worked at a Milwaukee-area school for the deaf. The lawsuit contends Pope Benedict and other Vatican officials conspired to keep quiet decades of abuse allegations against Murphy.

Jeffrey Lena, the U.S.-based attorney for the Vatican, said that the lawsuit should have been served through diplomatic channels as would be done with any foreign state.

A U.S. federal judge in October asked the Vatican to cooperate in serving court papers to the pope and two other Vatican officials.

Published: Tue, Feb 1, 2011

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