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Seven New York abuse victims have filed a class action lawsuit against the Vatican in Manhattan federal court. The Holy See was negligent in keeping information secret by priests, he said.
This is reported by several US media. The lawsuit filed Tuesday (local time) says the Holy See has been negligent in instructing its bishops around the world to cover up cases of sexual abuse by clergy, according to the tabloid New York Post.
Compensation in the billions
According to the report, the victims are being represented by Jeff Herman, a specialist in abuse claims. According to Herman, a successful lawsuit could cost the Vatican billions of dollars in compensation. "We now know that according to Holy See guidelines, bishops were instructed to keep information about sexually abused children by priests secret," Herman explained.
On Tuesday, Pope Francis had lifted the so-called papal secret for the prosecution of crimes of abuse. This means, among other things, that victims may no longer be bound to secrecy. It will also facilitate cooperation between the ecclesiastical and secular justice systems in the future. Confessional secrecy remains strictly protected. The new Instruction enters into force immediately.
New York state child protection law
The class action was made possible by a New York State child protection law passed in August that lifts the current twelve-month statute of limitations. Victims of clergy sexual abuse can thus temporarily pursue legal claims that are decades old. U.S. media quote University of Pennsylvania lawyer Marci Hamilton as saying lawsuits against a sovereign state are difficult and always "a shot in the dark".