US judge: Pope has immunity from sex-abuse case

A federal judge in Texas ruled Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI enjoys immunity as a head of state and removed him from a civil lawsuit accusing him of conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of minors by a seminarian. According to a copy of the ruling obtained by The Associated Press, US District Judge Lee Rosenthal cited a motion filed by the U.S. Justice Department in which the government said that allowing the suit to proceed would be "incompatible with the United States' foreign policy interests." "After a suggestion of immunity is filed, it is the court's duty to surrender jurisdiction," Rosenthal wrote in the ruling from US District Court in Houston.