• Germany edition
 
Damages for Catholic abuse could cost millions
Priests pray for the victims during a recent service in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Damages for Catholic abuse could cost millions

Published: 16 Feb 2010 11:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Feb 2010 17:45 GMT+01:00

Berlin lawyer Manuela Groll, who represents nine victims, told daily Die Welt that sums between €5,000 and €10,000 are under discussion.

“My clients are not happy with an apology, and instead expect compensation from the orders,” Groll told the paper. “An agreement out of court would be the right signal to the victims.”

Prosecutors have said that the alleged abuse probably happened too long ago for criminal charges to be an option.

Klaus Mertes, head of the elite Canisius Catholic secondary school in Berlin, where the scandal erupted in January, acknowledged that the church may compensate victims.

“But this question needs to be ruled upon by church leadership in Munich or even Rome,” Mertes told Die Welt.

Since Mertes sent a letter to some 600 former students at Canisius College who he believed may have been victims of at least two priests on staff in the 1970s and 80s, news of sexual abuse in other Catholic schools and organisations has spread throughout Germany.

Mertes told Die Welt that he believed the number of victims could be more than 100. Already more than 50 people have come forward.

“I have always said that it wasn’t about isolated cases, but that a certain system was behind this issue,” he said, adding that the church needs to recognize the terrible truth.

Meanwhile late on Tuesday one of Germany’s most senior Catholic bishops Walter Mixa told daily Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung that the sexual revolution was at fault for abuse by priests.

“The so-called sexual revolution, in which some especially progressive moral critics supported the legalisation of sexual contact between adults and children, is certainly not innocent,” he said, adding that the media was also at fault.

His comments came in response to calls for the Catholic church to open up discussion about sexuality to prevent further abuse.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

12:10 February 16, 2010 by pepsionice
Here's the curious thing about this....in Germany....the church tax is a mandatory thing if you claim a connection to any church. So if you were Catholic....you were listed on the government revenue database, and a certain percentage of your pay was deducted and handed to the Catholic Church. So in effect.....as folks come up and sue the Church.....they are more or less claiming tax-payer funding.

Based on the method that this percentage is drawn up.....the Church could say it needs a higher percentage of tax deducted.....to make up for its losses. I would seriously doubt that it'd pass through the Bundestag right now.....but there is this loop hole to allow it.
12:31 February 16, 2010 by michael4096
@pepsionice - this is a misleading comment. When you begin working for a company in germany you are asked if you wish to donate a proportion of your money to a registered religion automatically. Declining this, which nearly everybody I know does, has no downside. It certainly doesn't bar you from your religion or stop you giving money away manually. In many companies you can also choose to donate to a charity, automatically, out of before tax earnings.

I agree that there is far too much religion in german legislation, but don't make it appear worse than it is.
14:25 February 16, 2010 by Deutschguy
€5,-10,000? Peanuts!

These victims should be receiving €500,000 to €1,000,000 apiece.

They should get US lawyers to sue the Church in an American court. And, go after the Vatican Treasury (who can liquidate its "Art" and "Relics") for millions more.

€5,000 is a pittance and nothing but a slap on the wrist. German lawyers need to be more bloodthirsty and aggressive.
15:30 February 16, 2010 by Rittervon
This is sad..... Is this a common speeding ticket? I think not. These poor kids were basicly raped! They will forever be troubled by the memories of this. So that means it will affect every relationship they ever have, spouces, their children, and grandchildren.

This is not paying for sex. This is supposed to be a fine that makes everyone, not just the church, think twice about ever doing it again!

At this rate a person with the means could reason " hey if I get cought it will only cost me 5,000 to 10,000 Euros!"

I think the fines need to be greater.
16:09 February 16, 2010 by dbert4
Damages for, "catholic abuse"? I was forces to go to catholic schools as a child, do I qualify for payments?
17:27 February 16, 2010 by mixxim
Why should an organisation pay for unauthorised misdeeds by its members? If I were a Catholic I would object to paying for illegal fun enjoyed by a priest on some minor. Does the German government pay for bad behaviour of some of its members or the Judiciary for its bent lawyers?
18:51 February 16, 2010 by letgolet
The Let Go...Let Peace Come In Foundation is a newly formed nonprofit with a mission to help heal and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse worldwide. We are actively seeking adult survivors who would be willing to post a childhood photo and caption, their story, or their creative expressions to our website www.letgoletpeacecomein.org. By uniting survivors from across the globe we can help provide a stronger and more powerful voice to those survivors who have not yet found the courage to speak out. Together we can; together we should; together we NEED to stand up and be counted. Please visit our site for more details on how you can send us your submissions.

Thank you for everything you do!

Gretchen Paules

Administrative Director

Let Go...Let Peace Come In Foundation

111 Presidential Blvd., Suite 212

Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
21:58 February 16, 2010 by Johnny Cash
The Catholic church is one of , if not the richest organisations in the world. If they paid reparations just from the money they reap each year from laundering mafia money, there would still be plenty in that pot. Of course a Pope couldn't say this and last more than 28 days.
11:37 February 18, 2010 by Prufrock2010
@Deutschguy --

You're right that the amount suggested is a pittance, and an obscene one at that. But don't count on this pope authorizing a penny in victims' compensation. He's still orchestrating the means by which pedophile priests avoid criminal and civil liability throughout the world.

Unfortunately, the catholic church cannot be sued in the U.S. courts for its conduct or that of its clergy which occurred outside the jurisdiction of the United States. It is simply a jurisdictional issue that is dictated by the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure - Jurisdiction and Venue.

@mixxim -- the organization should pay for the criminal conduct of its members because the catholic church is a top-down hierarchal organization that is legally responsible under the laws of agency for the conduct of its subordinate members, as well as its own willful negligence in allowing this conduct to occur and/or doing nothing to stop the conduct once it has knowledge that it was occurring.
Today's headlines
German women fall short of equality
Still a man's world: women in Germany find it hard to rise as high as Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: DPA

German women fall short of equality

Women in Germany are still underrepresented in leadership jobs and among professors, a new government report said on Wednesday. They are also paid less and remain unlikely to study science, technology, engineering or mathematics. READ  

The Local List
Five reasons to visit (and avoid) Oktoberfest
Photo: DPA

Five reasons to visit (and avoid) Oktoberfest

With just over 50 days to go until Munich's Oktoberfest starts, it is time to book your train/plane/horse to the world’s biggest beer festival. Or is it? The Local List looks at five reasons you should be making that trip, and five why you'd better steer clear. READ  

Visa chaos hits Bayern Munich's USA tour
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Photo: DPA

Visa chaos hits Bayern Munich's USA tour

Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is among the club's staff and players who could not join a week-long tour to the USA on Wednesday because of visa problems. READ  

Dead TV star replies to SPD party invite
German actress Renater Küster with a statue of her late husband Dieter Hildebrandt. Photo: DPA

Dead TV star replies to SPD party invite

The Social Democrats (SPD) accidentally invited a dead TV star to attend its summer party. It got a shock when the veteran presenter replied saying, "I can't make it". READ  

Father killed in 'Cold Water Challenge'
The digger tipped over. Photo: DPA

Father killed in 'Cold Water Challenge'

A father died and five of his friends were injured on Tuesday night in western Germany when a digger fell on top of them during a so-called Cold Water Challenge. READ  

Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds
Raisting crop circle. Photo: DPA

Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds

A mysterious crop circle in Bavaria has attracted thousands of visitors since it was spotted in a wheat field last week. READ  

German siblings killed by drunk driver in Austria
Photo: DPA

German siblings killed by drunk driver in Austria

A ten-year-old girl and her 21-year-old brother were killed overnight in a road accident on the A1 motorway in Upper Austria, caused by a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road. READ  

Merkel: Russia sanctions were 'inevitable'
Merkel warned further sanctions could be imposed against Russia. Photo: DPA

Merkel: Russia sanctions were 'inevitable'

Strong sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis were “inevitable”, Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed on Tuesday night, despite Germany's initial reluctance to get tough on President Vladimir Putin. READ  

Boy's body found in US Ramstein plane
A C-130J at Ramstein air base. Photo: DPA

Boy's body found in US Ramstein plane

The body of an adolescent boy was found in a wheel well of a US military cargo plane after the aircraft landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany over the weekend, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. READ  

Have Your Say
Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA

Should Germany legalize cannabis?

A New York Times editorial on Sunday called for the US to drop its ban on marijuana, calling the strongly-worded law a "laughing stock". Should Germany follow the US states of Colorado and Washington and legalize recreational use of the drug? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Have Your Say: Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,261
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd