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Monday, February 22, 2010

From Germany: Child sex abuse cases in the Catholic Church that have been revealed since mid-January 2010

[summary] Cases of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church that have been revealed since mid-January in Germany.

In mid-January, Father Klaus Mertes, rector of Berlin's Canisius College, informed 500 students by letter that possible abuse occured at the school from 1975 to 1983. He apologized that staff had a blind eye to the allegations and he asked for victims to come foward.

Jan. 29: Father Mertes admitted at a press conference of seven previously known cases of abuse by two priests. The Berlin public prosecutor took over the investigation.

Jan. 29: The Berlin archdiocese acknowledged investigation into abuse against a former priest at Holy Cross parish in Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen. The incidents are alleged to have happened in 2001 but was known to the archdiocese since the summer of 2009.

Feb. 1: The scandal began to spread nationwide. Father Stefan Dartmann said during a visit to Berlin that 25 victims were known. Besides 20 students at Canisius, there were three at St. Ansgar School, Hamburg, and two at St. Blaise school in the Black Forest. The accused priests, Peter R. and Wolfgang P., were former Jesuits but were active in other Catholic institutions at home and abroad.

Feb. 2: The scandal moved to the Hildescheim diocese where one of the two accused former Jesuit priests served as pastor from 1982 to 2003. Two cases of sexual assault were known. Bishop Josef Homeyer said from today's perspective the allegations were seriously and implications for further developments were clearly underestimated. The Germany bishops were set to discuss the abuse issue at their plenary meeting to be held in Freiburg from Feb. 22 to 25.

Feb. 3: In Berlin, cases of abuse surfaced by one priest who was also a religion teacher at Notre Dame Catholic School. The Berlin archdiocese announced an investigation. Shortly therafter, Hans Langendorfer, secretary of the bishops' conference, said all cases of abuse would be investigated.

Feb. 7: Lawyer Ursula Raue, representing the Jesuit order, said that 30 former pupils of Canisius College had been abused. Additional cases were revealed in Bonn, Hamburg and St. Blaise. Pope Benedict XVI condemened sexual abuse of minors shortly thereafter as a violation of the rights of children.

Feb. 12: Berlin Cardinal Georg Sterzinky said the credibility of dedicated priests and teachers should not be destroyed because of the guilt of individuals. He also acknowledged shortcomings in the investigation of abuse cases.

Feb. 16: Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg attributed the abuse cases to increasing sexuality in public life and pointed to what he called abnormal sexual preference. He said incidents within the church were small.

Feb. 18: At least 115 victims of abuse since the 1950s were known in Jesuit schools. The sexual assaults were not isolated but were systematically committed. Meanwhile, reports on cases of sexual abuse involving the Pallottines began to surface. A student at the former St. Albert Seminary on the Rhine river Near Bonn said two years ago he reported that he and two other boys were abused in the early 1960s by a priest. The accused priest left the order in the 1960s and the school closed in 1967.

Feb. 20: Abuse cases were reported at two former homes of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Augsburg and Berlin. Also affected were the Daughters of Charity and a former children's home in Upper Swabia, the Marist board school in Mindelheim, Bavaria, and the former Franciscan boarding school in Grosskrotzenburg, Hanau. A large number of abuse allegations were made against former employees of the Franz-Sales House in Essen, a well-known facility for disabled people. An allegation was also made at St. Louis College. The federal justice minister urged the bishops to take action.Feb. 22: Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, who heads the bishops' conference, is expected to make his first statement on the scandal at the bishops spring meeting.

ORIGINALLY POSTED by Kathy Shaw at Abuse Tracker

Immer neue Missbrauchsfälle: Eine Chronologie
Bischofskonferenz will erstmals Stellung nehmen
Mitte Januar wurden Missbrauchsfälle an einer Berliner Jesuitenschule publik - und seitdem gibt es ständig neue Vorwürfe. Die lange Liste der Missbrauchsfälle und das Schweigen der Kirche: ein Überblick.

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