Former Pope, Benedict XVI has denied any role in a child abuse cover up as head of the Catholic church.

Now known by the title of the Emeritus Pope, he wrote a letter to a prominent Italian atheist which was published in La Repubblica newspaper with his permission.

He explained that Catholic priests had no greater tendency towards paedophilia than anyone else.

The child abuse scandal plagued the pontiff until he stepped down earlier this year. He was accused of suppressing investigations into priests accused of paedophilia. These comments are the first to be made public since being succeeded by Pope Francis.

Victims groups have rejected the former Pope’s claims of ignorance, saying “no one knew more but did less to protect kids than Benedict.”

It comes on the same day Father Julio César Grassi was sentenced to 15 years jail in Argentina for abusing a minor, a case which dates back to 2009.

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