Almost a year ago, the Munich abuse report shook the Catholic Church. The study assumed at least 497 victims and 235 alleged perpetrators - and a much larger number of unreported cases. Since then, a little more light has shed on this.
Munich (dpa / lby) - Since the publication of the sensational abuse report for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the Catholic dioceses in Bavaria have received more than 100 new indications of suspected cases.
The dioceses in the Free State counted at least 116 reports this year, according to a survey by the German Press Agency. In the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising alone, 54 new reports were received between publication and the end of November. According to a spokesman, this also includes "border violations that do not fall within the area of sexual abuse and known cases of abuse".
"The reporting on the publication of the abuse report in the Archdiocese of Munich has certainly encouraged many there to get in touch," said Matthias Katsch, spokesman for the "Eckiger Tisch" victims' initiative.
According to the Archdiocese of Bamberg, 17 cases "regarding sexual abuse and border violations" were reported there this year. Since 1945, 87 accused and 166 victims are on record. In the Diocese of Augsburg, 23 initial applications for recognition services were made known this year, 13 of which have so far been approved by the Independent Commission for Recognition Services at the German Bishops' Conference in Bonn.
Nine victims reported to the Diocese of Passau this year, six of whom said they had been abused by a priest who is already known to be the alleged perpetrator. According to a spokesman, the diocese of Regensburg has received a total of 12 reports of alleged sexual abuse since January 20. "These are currently not confirmed, but are still being investigated," said the spokesman. These are possible incidents from the years 1946 to 1986. According to the Munich report, a suspected victim reported to the diocese of Eichstätt, but the diocese of Würzburg did not provide any figures on request.
The report commissioned by the diocese from a Munich law firm caused a worldwide sensation when it was presented in January. The study assumes at least 497 victims and 235 alleged perpetrators - and from a much larger number of unreported cases.
The report accused the former archbishops Friedrich Wetter and Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, of personal misconduct in several cases - as did the current archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx.
As early as autumn 2018, the Catholic Church published the so-called MHG study and thus figures on sexual abuse. According to this, a total of 1,670 clerics were accused of sexually abusing minors nationwide in the personnel files from 1946 to 2014. There were 3677 casualties. In 2020, the religious orders made it public that a further 1,412 people affected had contacted them.
"It is not surprising that more people have come forward this year who have become victims of child sexual abuse by priests," says Eckiger Tisch spokesman Katsch. "But we're probably still only seeing the tip of the iceberg."
He assumes that more victims will report in the near future - not least because secular courts are now dealing with the question of the role played by church leaders in the abuse scandal and whether they are complicit in the cases through their dealings with perpetrators carry.
In Cologne, an ex-acolyte is demanding compensation from the Archdiocese for sexual abuse and the district court in Traunstein is dealing with a lawsuit against none other than Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
A man who claims to have been abused by a priest in Garching an der Alz who already had a criminal record at the time has not only filed a lawsuit against this priest. The responsible archbishopric of Munich and Freising - and Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was archbishop when the perpetrator was transferred from North Rhine-Westphalia to Bavaria, were sued by him as part of a so-called declaratory action.
"In our opinion, the most recent lawsuits against dioceses and former bishops, such as the former Pope Benedict, mean that those affected, who have previously hesitated to come forward because the psychological stress was disproportionate to the expected compensation, are considering whether now The time has not come to report to the diocese in which they became victims," said Katsch.