Abuse in the church: at least 120 victims in the diocese of Berlin | Free press

According to an independent report commissioned by the Catholic Church, several dozen clergy have been involved in the sexual abuse of minors over the past 73 years. The actual figure could be much higher.

Berlin (dpa) – Between 1946 and the end of 2019, at least 61 clergy were involved in the sexual abuse of minors in the area of ​​the Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin. In this period, a total of 121 victims became known from the files.

This is evident from an independent report on behalf of the church, which was presented in Berlin. According to the report from the law firm Redeker Sellner Dahs, the number of unreported cases could be much higher. The suspects are mainly priests and members of the order who worked in the area of ​​the diocese.

Hierarchical structures and a lack of communication have hindered education and prevention, the paper notes. The lawyer Peter-Andreas Brand, one of the authors, spoke of “systematic irresponsibility”. They tried by all means to prevent “damage to the church as an institution,” said co-author Sabine Wildfeuer. Church leadership was more empathetic to the perpetrators than to the victims.

The judiciary has investigated 21 cases, 11 of which have been the subject of legal proceedings. When the abuse cases at Canisius College in Berlin became known in 2002, there was a paradigm shift towards more openness to cases of abuse.

He takes the responsibility “where guilt has been concealed or not properly addressed, where people in the” church system “did not want to see the obvious or systematically looked the other way,” said Archbishop Heiner Koch. Those affected who have not yet contacted the church should contact the church. A committee made up of priests and laity must now process the report and submit proposals for future handling of cases of abuse.

The Archdiocese included Berlin, the central and northern parts of Brandenburg, West Pomerania and the town of Havelberg in Saxony-Anhalt.

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