Agence France-Presse | 03/26/2010 10:57 PM
WASHINGTON D.C., United States - Pope Benedict XVI failed to act in 1980 to stop a priest accused of sexually abusing children from taking up new duties in a different parish in Germany, the New York Times alleged Friday.
Before Benedict became pontiff, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was kept closely apprised of the case of Reverend Peter Hullerman who was suspended from his duties in the northern German town of Essen in late 1979 after several parents accused him of pedophilia.
A few weeks later in January 1980, Ratzinger, then archbishop of Munich, led a meeting approving Hullerman's transfer as a priest in the southern Bavarian city, the Times said.
Just days later the future pontiff was sent a memo informing him that the priest would be taking up his duties in Munich within days of beginning pyschiatric treatment even though he was described in the letter as a potential "danger."
But six years later, in 1986 Hullerman was found guilty of molesting boys in another Bavarian parish.
And this week new accusations of child sex abuse against Hullerman emerged during his time in Essen and then later in 1998 in a different southern town.
The case has taken on new importance this week, as the Vatican has sought to defend the pope against an allegation that he failed to act over a different priest accused in the United States of molesting up to 200 deaf children in the 1970s.
In 1980, Ratzinger "was in a position to refer the priest for prosecution, or at least to stop him from coming into contact with children," the Times wrote.
Despite the warning signs "Father Hullerman went from disgrace and suspension from his duties in Essen to working without restrictions as a priest in Munich," it added.
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