An independent German investigation into the child abuse cases that have occurred at a Munich Archdiocese showed on Thursday, Jan. 20, that Former Pope Benedict XVI may have known about and allowed priests with histories of child abuse to continue working in the church.

The inquest, led by the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl law firm in Germany, shows that the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger might’ve known about the abusive cases behind some of his priests during his tenure as Munich’s Archbishop from 1977 to 1982 and allowed them to continue working, the BBC reported. 

“Two of these cases concern abuses committed during his tenure and sanctioned by the state,” said lawyer Martin Pusch. “In both cases, the perpetrators remained active in pastoral care.”

The former pope, whose resignation from the position marked the first time that such a relinquishing of powers has happened in the history of the church, has repeatedly denied knowing about the past abuses of some of the priests that worked under him in Munich, but Pusch said that they have evidence that leads them to believe that Ratzinger knew about the cases, according to CNN

“During his time in office there were abuse cases happening. In those cases those priests continued their work without sanctions. The church did not do anything. He claims that he didn't know about certain facts, although we believe that this is not so, according to what we know, “ he said. 

The former pope’s secretary Archbishop Georg Ganswein, said that they will make a statement regarding the report after they have read through and examined the findings made by the law firm. 

The German Catholic Church has been plagued with scandal in relation to the sexual abuses done by some of its clergymen, with an estimated 3,700 victims, most of them altar boys, subject to abusive behavior between 1945 and 2014. 

The current Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, was also found by the report to have failed in addressing two cases of abusive priests. He recently called a press conference to apologize for the past misconduct of the German church. 

“I would like to ask for forgiveness in the name of the archdiocese for the suffering of the last decades. Abuse has not been taken seriously,” Marx said. “Those responsible have turned a blind eye -- and we have known that for years.”

jorge-zapata-de9ApvE4blM-unsplash A report made by a German law firm was released on Thursday showing, among other things, that the former Pope Benedict XVI knew about the sexual abuses of some of his priests during his tenure as Archbishop of Munich. Franco Origlia/Getty Images