London, Mar.20 (ANI): Pope Benedict XVI's former archdiocese in Germany has been overwhelmed by a "tsunami" of sex abuse claims, according to the head of new taskforce set up to deal with the issue.
According to The Telegraph, reports have emerged almost daily of sex abuse cases involving Catholic clergy in several European countries.
The spreading controversy threatens to overshadow a letter the Pope is expected to release on Saturday about the scandals that wracked Ireland.
Fresh claims emerged that Benedict XVI failed to do enough to safeguard children from paedophile priests when, as Joseph Ratzinger, he was the archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.
"It's like a tsunami," said Elke Huemmeler, the head of the diocese's newly established Task Force on Sexual Abuse Prevention, the first of its kind in the German Catholic Church.
The body, which started work yesterday, will review about 120 cases of alleged sexual abuse - among the 300 reported across Germany since January.
Around 100 of the claims involve a boarding school run by Benedictine monks at Ettal, in the foothills of the Alps in southern Bavaria.
The most damaging revelation is that Pope Benedict allowed a priest accused of molesting an 11-year-old boy to be moved from another diocese in order to undergo "therapy" in 1980.
The priest, Peter Hullermann, 62, was later released back into the community and was convicted of child sex abuse and given an 18 month suspended sentence in 1986.
The Vatican has insisted that by that time the future Pope had moved to Rome to take up a new appointment, but a member of the diocese said that he and colleagues should have been informed by him that Hullermann was an offender.
The sex abuse scandal, which has also swept through the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, reached Italy this week. (ANI)