Vatican Publishes Internal Abuse Files

The Huffington Post:

The Vatican, reeling from unprecedented criticism over its handling of sexual abuse cases in Ireland, took a pre-emptive strike Wednesday and published some internal files about a priest accused of molesting youngsters in Ireland and the U.S.

The files published on the website of Vatican Radio represent a small, selective part of the documentation the Holy See must turn over to U.S. lawyers representing a man who says he was abused by the late Rev. Andrew Ronan. The man, known in court papers as John V. Doe, is seeking to hold the Vatican liable for the abuse.

A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, ordered the Vatican to respond to certain requests for information from Doe’s lawyers by Friday, the first time the Holy See has been forced to turn over documentation in a sex abuse case.

The partial documentation released Wednesday includes the 1966 case file with Ronan’s request to be laicized, or removed from the clerical state, after his superiors learned of accusations that he had molested minors in Ireland.

The Vatican said the files, a few dozen pages, some handwritten and culled from its internal books, represented the full, known documentation held in the Vatican about Ronan. Assuming it’s complete, the relatively small amount of documentation appears to bolster the Vatican’s contention that Ronan’s crimes were unknown to the Vatican until 1966, when it learned of the accusations and after the abuse against Doe occurred.

The Vatican’s decision to publish some of the discovery documentation on its website marked an unusual attempt at some transparency, particularly given the sensitivity surrounding internal personnel files of accused priests. Victims groups have long denounced the secrecy with which the Vatican handles abuse cases and demanded the files of known abusers be released.

But it comes amid unprecedented criticism of the Vatican’s handling of sex abuse cases in Ireland, and as it still seeks to recover from the fallout over the abuse scandal that erupted last year. Thousands of people in Europe and elsewhere reported they were raped and molested by priests as children while bishops covered up the crimes…

Read on here.

You can read the Vatican documentation released by downloading it here (pdf).

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