Leaked Church Report: Over 3,600 Kids Sexually Abused by German Catholic Priests

The church withheld access to documents

A study commissioned by the German unit of the Roman Catholic Church uncovered that over 3,600 children, aged 13 or younger were sexually abused by members of the German Catholic clergy from 1946 to 2014. The contents were leaked prior to the September 25 publication date. The report said as many as 1,670 church personnel committed abuse. The numbers tally up to 4.4 percent of the total German clergy. Every sixth victim complained of being raped.

Criminologists warn the actual figures could be much higher. Christian Pfeiffer, a criminology specialist who was asked to investigate the matter by the Vatican but later refused as the church wanted control rights. “The report does not give the full picture, and is not fully independent,” Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer’s words were proved right. Researchers who agreed to conduct the investigation were not given direct access when it came to church files. They were forced to rely on church staff even in filling questionnaires. There was evidence in multiple counts where files containing abuse of minors were intentionally manipulated or even destroyed. The investigators were stymied by the sheer degree of the cover-up.

The subsequent report reflected what the researchers thought. It emphasized the facts spoken by many abuse victims while the church expressed regret over the continual sexual abuse done by clergymen. There are no signs of authentic admission and true remorse. None of the two traits were seen in the people who make up the German Roman Catholic Church. The report said it is important to note that such a perception exists. The solution, as per the recommendation put forward by researchers, is to provide easy, equitable, and transparent compensation to all the victims. The Vatican's German unit has delegated the decision to individual dioceses in the country, thus leaving a large chasm on compensation related issues.

This report on the German unit of the Roman Catholic Church is the latest of revelations regarding abuse by priests of the church all around the world. It is to be noted that investigators were given more independence in other countries. Cases of sexual abuse against minors by priests were more of the norm than the exception. A report by the grand jury in Pennsylvania published in August narrated how 1,000 children were abused by 300 priests.

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