A federal U.S. judge is asking the Vatican to cooperate in serving the pope and two other top officials with court papers stemming from decades-old allegations of priest sexual abuse in Wisconsin.
The request is an incremental step in a lawsuit that accuses the officials of conspiring to keep the allegations against a Milwaukee priest quiet.
The Vatican isn't obliged to cooperate with the request. A message left with the Vatican's U.S.-based attorney, Jeffrey Lena, wasn't immediately returned Friday.
Plaintiffs' attorneys say the Vatican hasn't cooperated with similar requests in previous lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa signed the order Sept. 24. It was released Friday by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.