Rome waited to ban pedophile priest

April 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Rome waited to ban pedophile priest April 3, 2010 The future Pope Benedict XVI took over the abuse case of an Arizona priest, then let it languish at the Vatican for years despite repeated pleas from the bishop for the man to be removed from the priesthood, according to church correspondence. Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that in 1990, members of a church tribunal found that the Reverend Michael Teta in Arizona had molested children as far back as the late 1970s. The panel deemed his behaviour – including allegations he abused two boys in a confessional – almost “satanic”. The tribunal referred his case to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005. But it took 12 years from the time Ratzinger assumed control of the case in a signed letter until Teta was formally removed from ministry, a step only the Vatican can take. As abuse cases with the pontiff’s fingerprints mushroom, Teta’s case and that of another Arizona priest cast further doubt on the church’s insistence that the future pope played no role in shielding pedophiles. Teta was accused of engaging in abuse not long after his arrival at the Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, in 1978. Among the allegations that would later be part of settlements: He molested two boys, ages 7 and 9,  Bishop Manuel Moreno eventually was made aware of the allegations and held a church tribunal for Teta, which determined “there is almost a satanic quality in his mode of acting toward young men and boys”. Teta was removed from ministry by the bishop, but because the church’s most severe punishment – laicisation – can only be handed down from Rome, he remained on the church payroll and was working with young people outside the church.

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