Abusive German priest with links to late pope to face trial in March

Gwinnett Daily Post [Lawrenceville, GA]

February 2, 2023

By dpa

The civil lawsuit by a German abuse victim against a convicted abusive priest with links to the late pope Benedict XVI and representatives of the Catholic Church is now due before court on March 28.

The Traunstein Regional Court in the southern state of Bavaria set the trial date on Thursday in a case which is considered one of the most prominent in the abuse scandal involving the German Catholic Church.

The priest, a repeat offender convicted of sexual abuse identified by the initial H under Germany’s strict privacy laws, must appear in court.

“The personal appearance of the defendant priest and an informed representative of the defendant archdiocese has been ordered,” the court announced on Thursday.

Priest H was transferred from the western state of North Rhine Westphalia to Bavaria in the 1980s after accusations were made against him. At the time, the late pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, was archbishop of Munich and Freising in Bavaria.

H was then legally convicted of sexual abuse in his new diocese in Grafing near Munich and transferred again — to Garching an der Alz further to the east of Munich, where no one knew of his deeds and where the priest again offended.

The plaintiff from Traunstein near Garching an der Alz claims to have been abused by the man in Garching and sees representatives of the diocese as responsible for the abuse.

He accuses them of covering up cases and thus making further acts possible in the first place.

The civil suit, a so-called declaratory action, is directed against four defendants, who are priest H, the archdiocese and the former archbishops Ratzinger and Friedrich Wetter, now a cardinal of the Church.