Vatican releases internal files on alleged abuser

Vatican releases internal files on alleged abuser Vatican City: The Vatican, reeling from unprecedented criticism over its handling of sexual abuse cases in Ireland, took the unusual step today of publishing its internal files about a priest accused of molesting youngsters in Ireland and the US.

The files published on the website of Vatican Radio are part of the documentation the Holy See plans to turn over to US lawyers representing a man who says he was abused by the late Rev Andrew Ronan.

The man, known in court papers as John V Doe, is seeking to hold the Vatican liable for the abuse. A federal judge in Portland, Oregon ordered the Vatican to respond to certain requests for information from Doe's lawyers by Friday, the first time the Holy See has been forced to turn over documentation in a sex abuse case.

The documentation includes the 1966 case file with Ronan's request to be laicised, or removed from the clerical state, after his superiors learned of accusations that he had molested minors in Ireland.

The Vatican today said that the documentation culled from the Vatican's internal personnel files proved that it had only learned of the accusations against Ronan in 1966, after the abuse against Doe occurred.

The Vatican's decision to publish a selection of the discovery documentation on its website comes amid unprecedented criticism of its handling of sex abuse cases in Ireland, and as it still seeks to recover from the fallout over the abuse scandal that erupted last year.

Thousands of people in Europe and elsewhere reported they were raped and molested by priests as children while bishops covered up the crimes and the Vatican turned a blind eye.

Last month, an independent report into the Irish diocese of Cloyne accused the Vatican of sabotaging efforts by Irish Catholic bishops to report clerical sex abuse cases to police.

The accusations prompted Irish lawmakers to make an unprecedented denunciation of the Holy See's influence in the predominantly Catholic country, with heated words in particular from Prime Minister Enda Kenny.