Vatican refuses to be served Jeffrey Anderson's sex abuse lawsuit

Pope Benedict: Return to sender.
Pope Benedict: Return to sender.

Twin Cities attorney Jeffrey Anderson's attempt to serve Pope Benedict and other high church officials with a sex abuse lawsuit has failed -- for now.

The Vatican more or less scrawled "return to sender" on the envelope, threw it in a Fed Ex box and said, "good luck, buddy."

Its attorney in the United States told AP that Anderson should have used diplomatic channels to serve the lawsuit because the Vatican is a foreign state.

Anderson is representing a deaf man from Illinois who claims he was molested by the late Rev. Lawrence Murphy as a child, when he attended a Catholic school for the deaf near Milwaukee. Murphy sexually abused about 200 boys at the for 24 years, starting in 1950. The New York Times revealed in March that the future Pope Benedict XVI did not defrock Murphy, despite warnings from several American bishops.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way last June for Anderson to sue the Vatican on behalf of sex-abuse victims, turning back a church challenge that said it was immune from U.S. lawsuits. In October, a federal judge asked the Vatican to cooperate in serving the court papers.

Anderson's ultimate goal is to force the pope to testify under oath.

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