Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Vatican mounts novel legal defense to shield pope from US sex abuse lawsuit

The Vatican is launching a novel legal defense in the clerical sex abuse scandal that it hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him deposed.

In court documents obtained Tuesday by the Associated Press, Vatican lawyers map out a three-pronged strategy to try to dismiss the lawsuit.

According to the documents, the Holy See plans to argue that the pope has immunity as head of state.

The Vatican's lawyers are also expected to argue that a 1962 document on handling clerical abuse isn't, as victims charge, the "smoking gun" that provides proof of a Vatican-mandated cover up.

And they will argue that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren't employees of the Vatican.

The documents were filed last month in U.S. District Court in Louisville, in a lawsuit concerning abuse cases.

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