Close To 200 German Catholic Priests Accused Of Committing More Than 5,700 Acts Of Sexual Abuse

A report published on Monday said that at least 600 young people have been documented as having been abused by Catholic priests in the German diocese of Münster, but the actual number of victims may be ten times higher.

The diocese has official records for 610 victims of abuse, according to a report from the University of Münster – about a third more than indicated by a previous study from 2018.

However, historian Natalie Boroznik, who was involved in the study, said the true number of victims could be much higher with “about 5,000 to 6,000 girls and boys affected” in the diocese.

According to the report, at least 5,700 individual acts of sexual abuse were committed by a total of 196 clergy, including 183 priests.

Five percent of the clergy involved were found to be serial criminals with more than 10 victims, and less than 10 percent faced any legal consequences.

At the height of abuse during the 1960s and 1970s, there were an average of two cases per week in the diocese, the report said.

Three out of four victims were male, between the ages of 10 and 14, and many acts were committed against altar boys or in child and youth camps.

The study indicated significant psychological consequences for victims who reached adulthood, including depression and suicidal thoughts, with indications of attempted suicide in 27 cases.

spread of violations

The Bishop of Munster, Felix Jane, is due to comment in detail on the study on Friday.

The authors accuse Jane, who has been Bishop of Munster since 2009, of failing to take action against the abusers.

In an initial response on Monday, Jane said he would “naturally accept responsibility for the mistakes I made myself in dealing with the sexual assault.”

The Catholic Church in Germany has been shaken by a series of reports in recent years that have revealed widespread child abuse by clergy.

A study commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference in 2018 concluded that 1,670 clergymen in the country committed some form of sexual abuse against 3,677 minors between 1946 and 2014.

However, the true number of victims is believed to be much higher.

In January, a report on the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising found indications of sexually abusive behavior on 235 people it investigated, including 173 priests, while there were at least 497 victims.

The report also found that former Pope Benedict XVI deliberately failed to take action to stop four priests accused of child sexual abuse in the 1980s, when he was Archbishop of Munich.

Another report published last year revealed the scale of abuse committed by priests in Germany’s largest diocese of Cologne.

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