Independent committee to investigate sexual abuse

Deutsche Welle

Five years after the exposure of the German sexual abuse scandal affecting schools and Catholic institutions, victims are calling for an independent committee. They claim that important issues are still unresolved.

Being able to speak to the well-attended Federal Press Conference was a special experience to him, said Matthias Katsch. When it was made public five years ago that the former student at the Catholic Canisius College had been a victim of sexual abuse, he did not have the courage to use his real name, using a pseudonym when talking to journalists.

Katsch said that it was a liberating experience to be finally able to talk about the abuse, noticing at the same time that he was not alone in his plight. In January 2010, reports of sexual abuse of students at the Berlin-based Canisius College triggered a wave of further revelations. A large number of affected people from church schools and colleges spoke in public, but also some from progressive education institutions such as the Odenwaldschule in the state of Hesse. The abuse scandal shocked the whole of Germany.

The silence continues

But now, five years after publication of the incidents, their investigation is reaching its limits. It continued at a “sluggish” pace, said Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, the government-appointed special representative for sexual abuse of minors. He conceded that awareness of the issue had increased and that legislation had become tougher. However, he deplored that “many thousands of girls and boys are still exposed to sexual violence and receive no protection.”

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