VATICAN CITY (AP) — Lawyers for a man who was sexually abused decades ago by a priest at a Wisconsin school for the deaf have asked a court to dismiss their lawsuit naming Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials as defendants.
Attorney Jeff Anderson had filed the lawsuit at the peak of a European explosion of the sex abuse scandal in 2010, alleging that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and his deputies knew about allegations of sexual abuse at St. John's School for the Deaf and prevented internal punishment of the accused priest, the late Rev. Lawrence Murphy.
The lawsuit had helped shift the blame for priestly sex abuse in the public mind away from bishops — who are responsible for their priests ) to the Vatican and Benedict himself.
The Vatican at the time had rejected the lawsuit as a publicity stunt.
Anderson's firm filed a voluntary motion to dismiss in U.S. district court in Milwaukee Friday. Emails seeking comment weren't returned Saturday.
The dismissal of the suit now leaves Anderson with one main sex abuse lawsuit naming the Holy See as a defendant, a case in Oregon. In 2010 a lawsuit against the Holy See was dismissed in Kentucky after the lawyer for the victim withdrew it.