Wednesday, October 5, 2022

German diocese covered for sexually abusive priests: Report

 Authorities in Germany’s Trier diocese, one of the oldest Roman Catholic parishes in the country, covered up sexual abuse by Catholic priests for decades, an investigation by an independent commission into the scandal (UAK) documented in an interim report.

Perpetrators were moved within the diocese or to other parts of the Catholic establishment, partly to protect them from legal consequences, dpa news agency quoted the report as saying on Thursday.

It said that, in their new posts, the perpetrators often abused children and adolescents again.

The diocese failed to take measures to protect potential victims in “a large range of cases”, the UAK criticised.

The report cited two particularly serious cases. In one, an arrest warrant had been issued for a priest after multiple cases of sexual abuse, prompting the diocese to stage a special intervention in order to send the priest to Paraguay.

Another priest received a post in the diocese despite having previously been found guilty of child sexual abuse in Austria. He then used his position to abuse minors again.

The report said that these cases illustrate the lack of a “responsible handling” of perpetrators.

In order to determine the specific role and responsibility of various bishops and other people of authority, the commission will investigate further.

A report on the cases of abuse during the leadership of former bishop of Trier, Bernhard Stein (1904-1983), is planned to be done by mid-October.

The investigation is planned to take six years, and has been going on for just more than a year.

So far, 513 victims and 195 alleged perpetrators have been uncovered for the period from 1946 until late 2021, the seven-person committee of experts and affected persons said.

The number of victims is still expected to rise, particularly in the course of a study to be conducted together with the University of Trier.