The pope then known as Josef Ratzinger might be “accused of misconduct” over his handling of the cases, according to the assessment created by a German law company.
Ratzinger, 93, has been a resident of the Vatican since his resignation as Pope in 2013, but he served as archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982.
The archbishop was involved in four incidents, according to the report:
- Two incidents in which perpetrators offended while he was in office but were permitted to continue pastoral work without restrictions while they were prosecuted by the courts.
- A case where a cleric convicted outside Germany was put into service in Munich despite Ratzinger knowing his history
- A suspected paedophile priest transferred to Munich for therapy in 1980, a transfer approved by Ratzinger. The priest was allowed to resume pastoral work, a decision the church said was made by someone else and was convicted of molesting Ta boy in 1986
The former pope has denied the accusations.
One of the report’s authors Martin Pusch said: “In a total of four cases, we came to the conclusion that the then archbishop, Cardinal Ratzinger, can be accused of misconduct.”
Munich’s current archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has promised a response to the report later today.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said it would evaluate the full report and examine its details.
He said: “In reiterating a sense of shame and remorse for the abuse of minors by clergy, the Holy See assures its closeness to all victims and confirms the path it has taken to protect the little ones and guarantee them a safe environment.”
A separate report in 2018, commissioned by the church, found that at least 3,677 people were abused by Germany’s clergy between 1946 and 2014.
More than half of them were 13 or younger and nearly a third served as altar boys.