Pope John Paul II covered up abuse by priests decades before becoming the leader of the Catholic Church, according to new allegations published by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
The reported alleged that the pope ignored the sexual abuse of minors by some priests under his administration in Krakow, Poland, where he served as archbishop, and did not dismiss them.
The report is based on the investigation of Dutch journalist Ekke Overbeek, who conducted his research for three years in Poland, the homeland of the late pope.
Overbeek based his report on the information he gathered from the roommate of a priest named Eugeniusz Surgent, who was accused of child abuse.
According to the report, Surgent repeatedly committed the abuse of children, and later apologised for it in a letter he wrote to John Paul II.
Another priest, accused of abusing children, also reportedly spoke to John Paul II.
"The future pope knew about it and, nevertheless, transferred those men. That led to new victims," Overbeek told NOS.
“The reasoning of the church - of the defenders of the pope - boils down to the fact that he would not have known, that he understood the seriousness of the situation very late, and that he first thought it was America's problem. All those arguments can now be dropped," he added.
NOS reported that Overbeek prepared his research as a book, which will be published in Polish soon.
Speaking on the book, Stanislaw Obirek, a Warsaw University professor, said the investigation "is true enough to destroy the myths that John Paul II was a saint in his youth."
The Vatican has yet to comment on the report by the NOS.