Pope Francis has been named as a defendant in a Victorian Supreme Court damages claim by three Aboriginal men who say they were sexually assaulted as young boys by paedophile priest Michael Glennon. Source: The Age.
It is the first known case in Australia in which survivors of clerical sexual abuse have sought to hold the Pope personally responsible for the Church’s failure to take decisive action against predators in its ranks.
The three plaintiffs, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, all claim to have experienced significant, ongoing impacts from their childhood abuse, including drug addiction, homelessness and unemployment.
They are seeking compensation and exemplary or punitive damages against Pope Francis, the Melbourne Archdiocese and Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli for the inaction of their predecessors.
If successful it would represent the first time an Australian court has punished the Church – as distinct from compensating survivors of abuse – for its failure to protect children from paedophile priests.
The claim lodged last week will test Pope Francis’s public commitment to treat all cases of clerical abuse with the “utmost seriousness’’ and the practical reach of Victorian civil law into the Vatican.
Priest's Aboriginal victims sue Pope Francis over church's failures (By Chip Le Grand, The Age)