Abuse scandal in the Catholic Church: thousands of victims, thousands of perpetrators

There was abuse in the Catholic Church behind the walls of the monasteries. More than 1,000 victims came forward after a phone call. Most of the more than 600 perpetrators can no longer be prosecuted.

In the abuse scandal of the Catholic Church in Germany, at least 654 monks and nuns are said to have committed crimes against children, adolescents and neighborhoods. An investigation into the religious orders published Wednesday by the German Superior Conference in Bonn revealed that 1,412 men and women had reported themselves as victims of abuse.

About 80 percent of the nuns and monks charged as perpetrators have already died, it said. However, 95 suspects are still members of their religious orders, and another 37 have resigned.

Thousands of victims, thousands of perpetrators

The cases of abuse that have now been published are in addition to those already identified by the German Bishops’ Conference. According to a 2018 study, at least 1,670 priests and deacons abused at least 3,677 children – so there were more than 2,200 perpetrators and more than 5,000 victims in the Catholic area.

Critics repeatedly accused the sequence of delaying the processing of events in the monasteries. Three quarters of the 392 religious orders took part in the survey, according to the chairman of the German Superior Conference.

“Siblings Abused”

According to the results, abuse occurred in at least 22 percent of the nuns and 69 percent of the monks. The President of the German High Order Conference, Sister Katharina Kluitmann, stated, “Yes, brothers and sisters in our communities have committed sexual abuse in all its forms.”

Not only these acts would have caused “unspeakable suffering” to those affected. “The way leaders and other members of the order deal with those affected and their reports have once again hurt those who, through their courageous opening, had hoped for a common step on their path to a cure – we deeply regret this and once again acknowledge our failure.”

The abuser of the Episcopal Conference, the Trier bishop Stephan Ackermann, spoke of a self-critical evaluation. He welcomed the fact that the orders expressed their willingness to continue working with the Episcopal Conference.

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