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'Church protected alleged paedophile'

Published:Thursday | April 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Lawyers in a Florida clergy sex-abuse case say the Vatican office, then headed by Pope Benedict XVI, failed to remove an alleged paedophile from the priesthood for years, even when the priest himself asked to be defrocked.

Attorney Jessica Arbour, who represents an alleged victim of the Rev Ernesto Garcia-Rubio in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami, also said Wednesday that the Vatican instructed church officials in Florida to shelter the priest after he was forced to leave Cuba.

The lawsuit was filed last year, but the lawyers released more details of the Garcia-Rubio case amid questions about the Roman Catholic church's response to European sexual abuse allegations, and about the role of Benedict as an archbishop in his native Germany and then as prefect of the Vatican's moral watchdog office.

The Archdiocese of Miami criticised the lawyers for attacking the archdiocese and Vatican during Holy Week.