German investigators left ‘shaken’ by scale of child abuse in Catholic Church

The Irish Times

September 25, 2018

By Derek Scally

New report details cases of 3,677 children abused by clerics over nearly 70 years

German investigators say they were left “shaken” by the scale of clerical sex abuse and institutional cover-up in Germany’s Catholic Church.

Speaking on Tuesday at the presentation of a report into decades of sex abuse of children in the Church, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German Bishops’ Conference, said the 366-page document marked a “shameful episode we cannot deny”.

The report details the cases of 3,677 children who were abused by about 1,670 clerics over nearly 70 years up to 2014.

“For too long in the Church we have looked away, denied, covered up and didn’t want it to be true,” Cardinal Marx told a press conference.

Two weeks after a summary of the report leaked, the lead investigator, Prof Harald Dressing, said that in his 30-year career as a forensic psychiatrist he had never encountered anything like what he had found in Church files.

“The scale of sexual abuse in the German Catholic Church, and the actions of those responsible, left me shaken,” he said.

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