04 December 2010

Black Collar Crime in Germany

From a Press Conference given by Marion Westphal last Friday, the comments in italics are mine.

Munich - Germany's Catholic church systematically covered up cases of sexual abuse within its own ranks for several decades, according to an expert study of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, presented Friday.

The lawyer commissioned by the Archdiocese to conduct the study, Marion Westphal, said its records revealed huge gaps between 1945 and 2009.
(So what about pre 1945, or are the records distroyed?)

Westphal described a 'systematic system of cover-up,' in which few abuse cases were criminally prosecuted.
'Only 26 priests were convicted for sexual offences,' Westphal added.
'We have to assume there is a large unknown number (of abuse cases),' the lawyer said. 'We are dealing with the extensive destruction of files.'(Maybe eaten by Rats?)
She said the records were also severely lacking during the years of 1977 to 1982, when the diocese was led by Archbishop Josef Ratzinger - who is now Pope Benedict XVI.

During this period, she only found a single document, regarding an abuse case that Ratzinger himself had dealt with, Westphal said. The file contained a letter from Ratzinger, insisting that an abusive priest be removed from his parish.
Westphal said church employees destroyed records of abuse cases because they were more concerned with avoiding a scandal than protecting the victims.
    (So nothing new here)

The study involved more than 13,200 files, of which 365 contained evidence that 'acts of abuse had taken place in an almost commonplace manner,' Westphal said.
These cases implicated 159 priests as well as 15 deacons, 96 religion teachers and six pastoral employees. Rural areas were particularly affected, the lawyer said.

Some of the files were stowed away in private apartments, others were locked away in places that few had authority to access. Criminal verdicts were not included in the files out of principle.
(It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard".' -- Douglas Adams.) 

In many cases the victims' suffering could only be guessed at, Westphal said, as the files described reported abuse in evasive language.
She insisted the church had given her free rein in her research.
Munich's Archbishop Reinhard Marx said this year's revelations of sexual abuse by clerics had come as a shock.
'For me, these were surely the worst months of my life. I felt shame, grief and dismay,' Marx said.
(Getting caught does that to everyone )

Thanks to Dw-world.de

The Christian Brothers were fairly mangled fellows in Navan. Some men speak highly of them. Unfortunately I never saw that. I just remember the brutality. The Paddtbats, the straps that would fly out of the soutane like vipers' tongues, the beatings amidst the prayers - whack!
Pierce Brosnan

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