Lawsuit from a victim of abuse: court separates papal proceedings – Bavaria

One day before the oral hearing this Tuesday, the district court in Traunstein closed the damages proceedings of an alleged victim of abuse against the late Pope Benedict XVI. separated from the rest of the process. A court spokeswoman said on Monday that the reason for this was that the district court had not yet named Benedict’s heirs who could meet the plaintiff’s claims. Benedikt’s legal successor has not been clarified and it is not foreseeable when this could change.

The plaintiff, a former altar boy from Garching an der Alz, accuses the then Garching pastor of sexually abusing him in the mid-1990s. The clergyman had already been noticed elsewhere as an abuser and convicted. Nevertheless, the diocese sent him to Garching. The pastor himself is one of the defendants in the process, as is the archdiocese of Munich-Freising and its former archbishop Friedrich Wetter.

Joseph Ratzinger was once also Archbishop of Munich. Since he died at the end of 2022, all claims can only be directed at his heirs. Benedict bequeathed some personal things and the lucrative rights to his books to church institutions during his lifetime. If distant relatives are found as heirs for the rest, they can refuse the inheritance and thus avoid the plaintiff’s claims.

Hearings against the other defendants are to continue this Tuesday, which is only possible by splitting up the proceedings. Otherwise the hearing would have had to be postponed again. The plaintiff demands a total of 350,000 euros. From a purely criminal point of view, the allegations are considered statute-barred.

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