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Rome Reports

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Benedict XVI denies accusations of misconduct, defends his innocence

While preparing a report on the handling of abuse in the archdiocese of Munich-Friesland, investigators sought the cooperation of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who was archbishop of Munich from 1977-1982.

In response, Benedict sent them an 82-page document on the most complicated abuse cases of his administration. 

But lawyers accuse him of failing to act in four cases of abuse, particularly in the case of two priests who allegedly committed obscene acts in front of minors. 

Benedict XVI explained that he did not take further action because such abuses had no criminal or canonical relevance at the time; and says that he was not informed of what took place in the other cases.

The investigators included Benedict XVI's account in the report, but disagree with his statement.

Through his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the Pope emeritus said he will study the more than 1,000-page report, which he received as soon as it was made public.

He also reiterated his disgust and shame at abuse committed by priests, and his closeness to all the victims. 

Benedict XVI was the first pope to meet with victims of abuse.