2010-04-22, Milwaukee, WI, U.S.A. The Holy See (Vatican), Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Tarcisio Bertone (Cardinal Secretary of State) and Angelo Sodano (Dean of the College of Cardinals) are listed as the defendants in a complaint filed in the United State District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Facts. The complaint arises from sexual abuse of a minor plaintiff by Lawrence Murphy, a Roman Catholic priest, between from 1950 to 1975 at St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis, Wisconsin. The claim describes in detail the structure of the Roman Catholic church, history of the Church’s concealment of the sexual abuse of children, multiple complaints received against Lawrence Murphy, molestation of the Plaintiff by Lawrence Murphy and inaction of the defendants.
Jurisdiction. The plaintiff relies on 28 U.S.C. §§ 1605-1607 that lists several exceptions to the principle of state immunity, more specifically that Vatican was involved in commercial activity in Wisconsin, while the individual defendants committed a tort that they knew would have a direct effect in Wisconsin.
Causes of Action. The claim is based on several wrongs arising from a contract between plaintiff’s parents and the school operated by the defendant. More specifically, the claim is based on a breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; unjust enrichment/constructive trust; conversion; misrepresentation; negligent misrepresentation; respondeat superior liability; breach of fiduciary duty; violation of customary international law of human rights; negligence; fraud; intentional & negligent infliction of emotional distress; conspiracy to cause emotional distress and to defraud. The plaintiff also requests an order requiring Vatican to release the names of and documents regarding sex offenders.