- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Six men filed a class action and racketeering lawsuit Tuesday against the Vatican and America’s Catholic bishops, arguing they were aware of but ignored evidence of rape and sexual abuse within the clergy.

The 80-page complaint, filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C., asks a judge to order a personal apology from the church hierarchy to abuse victims, to demand a full public accounting of all cases dating back to 1940, and to compensate victims and create a medical monitoring fund to help in recovery.

The plaintiffs all say they were abused when they were children attending churches from Mississippi to Iowa, and California to Pennsylvania.

“Rather than safeguarding and protecting plaintiffs and class members — who were minor children at the time — defendants protected the abusive clergy, took extraordinary measures to conceal their wrongful conduct, moved them from parish to parish, without warning church members or the general public, thereby further facilitating their predatory practices,” the men say in their lawsuit.

The complaint was filed just as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been meeting this week for its annual fall meeting, and had been scheduled to debate a couple of proposals to combat abuse within the church’s ranks.

The Vatican stepped in on Monday and asked the American bishops to delay any vote on the proposals until after a Vatican-led conference early next year.

The abuse scandal, which has rocked the church for more than a decade, was reignited over the summer as Pennsylvania’s attorney general led a grand jury in identifying more than 300 priests accused of sexual misconduct.

The federal Justice Department last month announced its own probe.

Pennsylvania’s bishops announced this month that they will create a fund to compensate victims of clergy in their state.

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