- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Attorneys who’ve tried for years to sue the Vatican over sexual abuse claims are seeing a cracked door with Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation.

They think he may be more vulnerable now that he is no longer in power.

A U.S. attorney for the Vatican tells the New York Daily News that the pope does retain legal immunity, in as well as out of office. But sexual-abuse victims and their advocates want to test the law, and they’re pushing for suits to go forth.

“So much of this is unprecedented,” said Pamela Spees, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is leading the charge for the International Criminal Court to investigate whether the Vatican ignored sexual-abuse claims involving its priests, the Daily News reported.

“There’s nothing set in stone about it,” she added.

As far as Catholic officials go, the pope was one of the louder advocates for children, however. He spoke of ridding the church of the “filth” of child abusers, the Daily News said, and also ordered bishops to develop policies and guidelines for keeping abusers from joining the ranks of priests.