Crime

New investigation reveals German Catholic priests sexually abused thousands of children

A study commissioned by the Catholic Church has uncovered yet another massive sexual abuse scandal among the shepherds of its flock. Although the report was set to be released on September 25, it was leaked to the press and the details within are horrific. According to its findings, around 1,670 church clergymen sexually abused 3,677 minors within a period of about 70 years, the German news outlet Spiegal Online reports.

The report found that only 38 percent of the alleged perpetrators faced prosecution, with most of that percentage only receiving minor disciplinary actions for the incidents, of which about 1 in 6 involved actual rape. Most of the victims were boys and over half were age 13 or younger.

Just like many cases in the U.S., predatory priests in Germany were moved from community to community with no warnings to residents about their abusive history.

After using 38,000 documents from 27 German dioceses, the report’s authors said that the true extent of the abuse may be even greater than the report outlines. The authors accuse the church of having some records “destroyed or manipulated.”

A spokesman for the German Bishops’ Conference which commissioned the report said that the church is “dismayed and ashamed” by the findings, adding that the study was meant to shed light on “this dark side of our Church, for the sake of those affected, but also for us ourselves to see the errors and to do everything to prevent them from being repeated”.

“I stress that the study is a measure that we owe not only to the Church but first and foremost, to those affected,” Bishop Stephan Ackermann said, according to the BBC.

The report’s contents were leaked just as Pope Francis summoned bishops from around the world for a meeting at the Vatican aimed at addressing the crisis — a crisis that more and more people are starting to see as a massive coverup by the church.

Last month, a scathing letter was addressed to Francis, calling on him to resign over his alleged coverup of sexual abuse allegations against an American cardinal. This was all in the wake of a bombshell report from NBC News detailing the rape and sexual abuse of over 1,000 Pennsylvania children at the hands of hundreds of priests.

To date, the Catholic Church has racked up nearly $4 billion in costs related to priest sex abuse according to an extensive investigation of media reports, databases, and church documents by the National Catholic Reporter.

Featured image via Flickr

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