7 Catholic Church child sex abuse victims are suing Pope Francis

Seven victims of child sex abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church are suing Pope Francis, alleging Tuesday that he and the Vatican were aware that many priests were habitually molesting children, yet they kept it secret and did nothing to stop it.

The abuse survivors, who brought the lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court, are accusing the Holy See of negligence for instructing clergy around the world to cover up many cases of sexual abuse. The seven victims bringing the suit had previously settled with the Catholic Dioceses in New York for “pennies on the dollar.”

The lawsuit states:

“The Holy See has known for centuries that Catholic priests were using their positions and roles in Catholic parishes and schools to sexually molest children . . . The Holy See’s secrecy policy enabled and emboldened child sexual predators among clergy working in the dioceses, creating an environment and system which they could engage in child sexual abuse with impunity.”

Pope Francis abolished the “pontifical secrecy” mandate for clergy sexual abuse cases on Tuesday.