Child abuse in the Catholic Church — a scandalous approach to scandal

Deutsche Welle

November 25, 2020

By Melina Grundmann

Karl Haucke was sexually abused by a priest for years. He and other survivors were promised an investigation. But the Catholic Church has decided not to publish the findings. To Haucke, this is a repeat of the abuse.

Standing on the banks of the Rhine river, practically in the shadows of Cologne’s cathedral, Karl Haucke says he has lost faith in the Catholic Church. His story begins in the early 1960s, when he was sent to boarding school in the West German capital at the time, Bonn. From the age of eleven, he was regularly abused by a priest for four years — at least once a week.

But the abuse was not just of a physical, sexual nature. The priest made him relate the stories during the weekly confession. “Confession includes penance. Depending on the abuser’s mood, he might say ‘I’ll come around to your bed tonight or tomorrow.’ Then it would start all over again.”

Back then, Haucke had no one to talk to about it and no way of figuring out what was being done to him. He was unaware that the same thing was happening to many of his fellow pupils. “We had no words to describe what was being done to us. Nor did we know what it meant. And it did not stop at physical pain. We had a clear sense of humiliation and being used,” says Karl Haucke.

As an adult, he had no concrete memory of the abuse. He turned into a workaholic, toiling for as many as fourteen hours a day without even knowing why. A racing heart and other symptoms of trauma had long since become familiar companions.

Then, Haucke suddenly realized what was going on. It was in 2010 when the news of the biggest sexual abuse scandal in the history of the Catholic Church broke in Germany and thousands of abuse cases in church institutions were gradually revealed.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.