Five Americans, victims of pedophile priests, filed a complaint Tuesday against the Vatican to force him to disclose the names and records of all clergy suspected of sexual abuse in his archives.
These five men "suffered because of the policy and practice of the Holy See, which is not to seize the authorities in case of suspicion of aggression on a child and to impose secrecy on its agents", according to the complaint filed in a federal court in Minnesota (North).
"No one should live what my brothers and I have lived," said Stephen Hoffman, who joined the complaint with his brothers Luke and Benedict. "I only want the Vatican to do what is right," he added at a press conference.
The three boys, then teenagers, were repeatedly assaulted by Father Curtis Wehmeyer, who was arrested in 2012 as a result of their mother's intervention. The priest was sentenced to five years in prison and an archbishop, suspected of covering him, was forced to resign in 2015.
Today "they do not want money, but claim that the Vatican does the cleaning" and "reveals its secrets," assured their lawyer Jeff Anderson, already the origin of four complaints against the Vatican.
The first, in Oregon in 2002, was followed by ten years of legal battle. The American justice had considered that the Vatican did not enjoy diplomatic immunity but refused to consider him as "the employer" of the priest implicated.
The second, in 2010, was withdrawn so as not to compromise another procedure.
The plaintiffs in the last two cases, filed in late 2018 in California, have finally withdrawn their complaint to associate with that of the three brothers.
One of them, Jim Keenan, 51, said he was assaulted in the 1970s by a priest who was the subject of reports kept secret by the Church. "I pursue the pope and the Vatican because it must stop, they are not above us," he said.
The last, Manuel Vega, 53, presented himself as one of thirty victims of a Mexican priest who, according to him, was authorized by his hierarchy to return to his country from the first denunciations. Today, "he may still be working, dangerous," he feared.
In the United States as elsewhere, the Catholic Church is going through a deep crisis of confidence because of the revelations of sexual assault, particularly on minors, committed for decades by priests, long covered by their hierarchy.