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Roman Catholic church reveals sex abuse figures
Photo: DPA

Roman Catholic church reveals sex abuse figures

Published: 07 Dec 2012 16:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Dec 2012 16:45 GMT+01:00

Germany's Roman Catholic Church revealed on Friday that at least 66 clergy members had been accused of sexually abusing children and adults over a 10-year period, with most of the victims male.

The findings were part of a scientific study ordered after the Church was thrown into crisis two years ago when hundreds came forward alleging they were abused as minors between the 1950s and 1980s.

Based on dozens of expert appraisals of Catholic clergy members submitted by 21 of Germany's 27 dioceses, it said the clergy had been accused of 576 cases of sexual assault between 2000 and 2010.

Three-quarters of the 265 alleged targets of abuse were male, the German Bishops' Conference said, releasing the report drawn up by three forensic centres for research.

Most of the cases took place between the 1960s and 1990s "in a period when a different social awareness and a lower sensitivity to the theme of sexual acts on children and youths still prevailed," Norbert Leygraf, head of the Institute of Forensic Psychiatry at Duisburg-Essen University, said in a

statement.

It said that "only in few cases" was the alleged abuse the result of an abnormal psychological condition, such as paedophilia, and cases largely reflected the rate of the problem in society at large.

"In particular a sexual preference disorder as defined by paedophilia or hebephilia was only diagnosed in a minority of clergy members," Leygraf said.

"In this regard this is not significantly different from the prevalence in the overall German population," he added.

The study was launched in April 2011.

AFP/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:52 December 7, 2012 by grinners
Thank goodness God can just forgive them all.

That could get you in real trouble else where!
18:21 December 7, 2012 by Zubair Khan
Sole or main reason for this abuse will be interesting to know!
20:35 December 7, 2012 by pjnt
If you like to drive you become a car racer.

If you like food you become a cook.

If you like little boys? As distasteful as that sounds, the clergy have historically been a haven for people that cannot express their sexual desires publicly - being illegal. The church makes it worse by covering up these offenders, thus giving a protective shield over them, attracting more.

I would say the number is much higher, but this is a start.
21:52 December 7, 2012 by Clarissa Smith
As a progressive Catholic I have to say: We need to relativize our church and its traditional values. I was raised within this word and pretty soon found out: This traditional hype is unhealthy and even harmful. It makes people trust clergymen, although clergymen do not deserve that. Because clergymen are humans like us lays and there is no reason to trust them more than any other person you meet in the secular world. And to be just, if you meet a nun, feeling like she was supposed to be nice, and after a while you get the notion she's mean-spirited, don't wonder. She's a human nun and not a saint from heaven.

I'm actually a bugbear of all clergymen and they pretty soon fear me. I pretty soon take on them, criticize them. Because these guys are overvalued and so to speak overtrusted. If they expect that kind of trust, I reject it. But if you come from a small-minded Catholic family, and feel like these clergymen are sort of exalted, you're a potential victim.......

By the way, my church is stockpiling secular stuff and way too wealthy. And looks too much like a museum. Jesus would probably feel like taking a great big broom.....
23:23 December 7, 2012 by keeps71
THE RAPE OF CHILDREN IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE RELATIVISED. And what the hell is this idiot of a psychiatrist talking about? There was never a "reduced sensitivity" to the rape of children in the 60s, 70s or 80s. Reduced awareness, yes. And what do you call someone who abuses children other than a paedophile? It would have been a more balanced article if we'd heard reactions from the church (apologies?) and maybe some victims rather than this vapid shrink suggesting nothing's wrong with the catholic church.
03:39 December 8, 2012 by gorongoza
No wonder why churches in Germany are virtually empty.

Welcome to the FIRST WORLD ! A world of PAEDOPHILES.

My first impression of Germany was that of parents who care so much about their children - that was because I could see parents always with their children beside them. I however soon learnt the really reason for the trend: they are scared for their children. Its actually like a jungle: if you just relapse in your watch over your kids the marauding child molesters will sofort pounce them.
11:36 December 8, 2012 by MattyB
20:35 December 7, 2012 by pjnt

Much of what you say is correct, but do not forget another major source of this type of sick behavior; schools. There are far, far more cases of this sort occuring every year in our schools than in Catholic churches. Well, at least in America. You can hardly pick up a newspaper without reading about a teacher having sex with students.
14:49 December 8, 2012 by raandy
The Catholic Church lost all credibility over sexual abuse, more from hiding it that if they would have immediately reported these incidents to the police.
23:18 December 8, 2012 by jamboree
I wonder what can be done to improve checks.

It is clearly a known problem in many aspects of society.

I grew up thinking I could generally respect and trust the clergy, police, firemen, medical staff, teachers and so on. That is why this item is generally shocking.

On a recent programme, one child abuse victim reporting his sexual abuse by a carer that happened in the 70s, said that he thought if he said anything at the time, then he would have been beaten by his parents.
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