The recent revelations
Rev. Peter Hullermann, Munich — This case developed when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, oversaw the Munich Archdiocese from 1977 to 1982. Hullermann had been accused of abusing boys in Essen in the 1970s when Ratzinger approved his 1980 transfer to Munich for treatment for pedophilia. Allowing Hullermann to return to duty a month later was the responsibility of a subordinate, church officials said, but the New York Times reports that Ratzinger was copied on a memo that informed him that Hullerman would be returned to pastoral work within days of beginning the psychiatric treatment. Hullermann was convicted in 1986 of abusing a youth but again returned to service. Another person has claimed to have been abused by Hullermann in 1998.
Rev. Lawrence Murphy, Wisconsin — At St. John's School for the Deaf from 1950 to 1974, Murphy molested up to 200 boys. From 1981 to 2005, Ratzinger led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that prosecutes sex crimes by clergy. In 1996, he failed to respond to two letters from Milwaukee's then-archbishop. After eight months, Ratzinger's deputy instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret trial that could lead to Murphy's dismissal. But the deputy halted the process after Murphy wrote to Ratzinger protesting that he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church's statute of limitations. The church moved Murphy but allowed him to continue working in schools and a juvenile detention center. He died in 1998, still a priest.
Verona, Italy — 67 deaf men and women, former pupils at the Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, describe sexual abuse, pedophilia and corporal punishment from the 1950s to the 1980s. They named 24 priests, brothers and lay religious men as their abusers. Monsignor Giuseppe Zenti, bishop of Verona, initially accused the former students of lying. However, after one of the accused men admitted to sexual relations with students, the bishop ordered an investigation. Advocates for the victims said the investigation was fatally flawed because no one interviewed the former students. Last summer, the diocese forwarded its files to the Vatican. The Vatican studied the file but took no action until Feb. 15, when Cardinal William Levada instructed Zenti to interview the former students to determine if any action should be taken against the priests.
Sources: Associated Press; New York Times