• Germany's news in English
 

Catholic Church thwarts child abuse investigation

Published: 09 Jan 2013 08:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Jan 2013 10:09 GMT+01:00

Cooperation between the Lower Saxony Institute for Criminology (KFN) and the German Bishops’ Conference ended due to unacceptable interference by the Church, KFN director Christian Pfeiffer told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday.

He said the institute had already been told by the Church that its services would no longer be needed after the KFN refused to comply. This will be confirmed in a letter from the Association of German Dioceses (VDD) to the KFN in the coming days, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Wednesday.

The project had been scuppered by the "censorship and control requests of the Church," Pfeiffer told the paper.

The cooperation had been contractually agreed in July 2011, and was to be the most thorough investigation of its kind in the world, the KFN said. The complete files of all of Germany's dioceses - some dating as far back as World War II - were to be scrutinized for evidence of child abuse.

But last year, the Church demanded changes to the contract following complaints from priests and some bishops. These alterations included giving the Church the power to veto the publication of results and the appointment of new researchers.

Pfeiffer also said there were indications that the Church had destroyed incriminating files in several dioceses, a claim denied by VDD Chairman Hans Langendörfer. "I have no evidence that abuse files were destroyed," he said.

A spokesman for the archdiocese of Munich and Freising rejected Pfeiffer's claims, saying that there was absolutely no grounds for talk of "censorship requests."

Instead, the discussion had been about "how the unconditional will for clarification in the interests of the victims could be brought together with the necessary duty of care towards church workers." He added that the main issue was data protection.

Revelations in 2010 of child abuse at the Catholic Canisius School in Berlin unleashed a wave of allegations against the Church in Germany.

DAPD/The Local/mry/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:26 January 9, 2013 by gkh50
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:47 January 9, 2013 by wood artist
Well, certainly the church can't have people actually finding out the truth. They might discover some direct link between those actions and a certain former German priest who got promoted, and then wouldn't that be a mess.

wa
10:53 January 9, 2013 by jodessa
Disgusting! And people still willingly pay these sick tax???? Really??
11:33 January 9, 2013 by Dalmation
So this church only agrees to an investigation as long as it has veto powers and censorship powers on its findings. There should be a full criminal investigation with proper warrants issued to the investigators. Sickos.

Germans are generally considered a logical people. Why do they pay such exhorbitant church taxes to these paedos? It defies logic.
12:13 January 9, 2013 by twisted
Seems to me that the Catholic church might be a criminal activity.
13:00 January 9, 2013 by The-ex-pat
12:13 January 9, 2013 by twisted

Seems to me that the Catholic church might be a criminal activity.

Might be!!!!!!!!!!

If you and me consistently hid the actions of criminals and paedophiles, we would be arrested and charged with perverting the course of justice, Aiding and abetting criminal, harbouring a fugitive to name a potential few....
13:40 January 9, 2013 by jg.
Why should members of the catholic church receive different treatment from anyone else? One would have thought that any investigations into crimes such as paedophilia would be conducted without interference from any third party, least of all the employers of the suspected criminals. Furthermore, interference with a criminal investigation and destruction of evidence are crimes in their own right.
14:01 January 9, 2013 by The-ex-pat
13:40 January 9, 2013 by jg.

Why should members of the catholic church receive different treatment from anyone else?

For the same reasons politicians think that should.......They all think they are better than the rest of us!!
14:09 January 9, 2013 by Big L
It was sad for me as recent a visitor to your country to see how many Germans were driven away from God by the Catholic Church and its dark age policies and practices.

I am surprised that so many Germans are still Catholics!
14:38 January 9, 2013 by raandy
The Catholic church in order to restore some form of credibility needs to be transparent. The unwillingness to open its files to the public only reinforces my opinion that it has a lot to hide and is an organization to be avoided.
16:10 January 9, 2013 by lucksi
"But last year, the Church demanded changes to the contract following complaints from priests and some bishops"

Immediately arrest those. They obviously have something to hide.
16:22 January 9, 2013 by Bulldawg82
What the hell is it with religions that they dig the young boys so much?
16:51 January 9, 2013 by Dalmation
Time to properly investigate and dig up all those Paedo-files before they get misplaced (buried).
17:49 January 9, 2013 by Englishted
Now commentors stop all this or you will not go to heaven .
12:40 January 10, 2013 by grazhdanin
Every investigation that has Pfeiffer's name in it is pointless, as he is an idiot. Just read some of his earlier 'findings' and theories.
15:10 January 11, 2013 by Kennneth Ingle
Everybody is entitled to a free opinion, but sometimes it does help if those expressing them have a little knowledge of the subject in question. How many passengers would stop using trains, because a number of children have been thrown out for not having a ticket?

Neither the church, nor the railway service, can be blamed when some of those working for them do not keep to the rules.

Should the Green party ( they have 15% of the vote in some places), not also be dragged through the dirt? Some of their founder members openly asked for sex with children, to be made legal!

Wherever there is an organisation in which hundreds of people are involved, there will be some who misuse their positions.

What is needed, is a general cleanup in all forms of public life. The individuals who commit the offences should be punished and made to pay for any follow-up costs for the treatment of their victims. Unfortunately, even in judicial circles, there is a tendency to differentiate between various groups of persons, according to their status in society. The best example to come to mind just now is the former President Wulff and his wife. Equal treatment, as foreseen in the written Constitution, remains a farce.

On the other hand, if ordinary Catholics have done nothing wrong, why should their church taxes be used to pay damages for something with which they have had nothing to do? It is just as illogical, as to ask taxpayers in Munich, to pay for the mess made at the new aerodrome in Berlin. There too, the individuals who made the mistakes should also foot the bill. Everything else is unjustifiable.
21:56 January 11, 2013 by tjk77
"I have no evidence that files were destroyed. Do you think we're stupid? When we destroy files, we make sure there is no evidence of it"
10:28 February 11, 2013 by kerosene60
I am an American, retired formerly employed as a Child Protection worker for a major metropolitan area. The Catholic Church in Germany is acting just like just about every child sexual perpetrator I ever met. We have been through the same hollow promises for decades from this church. They have spent well over 700 million USD settling law suits to avoid publicity. We have been changing Priests in Criminal Court and wending those found guilty to prison, as with any sexual perpetrator. It is a mistake to allow the Church to do an investigation or to decide on how the offender should be punished. Sexual perpetrators cannot be treated. It is only the possibility of going back to prison that acts as a deterant. Put them near children and they will re offend. I think Germany and public opinion are on the right track. Prosecute them in civil courts and get them out of contact with children.
Today's headlines
Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'
Sudeten Germans practising traditional dance at a gathering in 2014. Photo: DPA

Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

The Sudeten German Homeland Association has given up its claim to the group's former home in parts of the Czech Republic, quieting one of the final echoes of the Second World War. READ  

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers. READ  

Police wind down Bremen terror response
Heavily-armed police on patrol outside Bremen cathedral. Photo: DPA

Police wind down Bremen terror response

Police in Bremen said that the risk of a terrorist attack had been reduced in the city after they arrested two suspected arms dealers. The city remains under high alert, with special protection for the Jewish community. READ  

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone
Photo: DPA

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Sunday Greece's new hard-left government needs "a bit of time" but is committed to implementing necessary reforms to resolve its debt crisis. READ  

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo
Photo: DPA

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo

An estimated 375 people turned out for the Germany-based PEGIDA movement's first demonstration in Britain on Saturday, but were outnumbered by a 2,000-strong crowd of counter-protesters, police said. READ  

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote
Photo: DPA

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Friday to "start working hard" to implement vital reforms in the stricken eurozone country, after Germany's parliament approved a four month extension to its bailout. READ  

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Photo: DPA

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. READ  

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps
Trouble at the top. Photo: DPA

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

Germany's highest civil court ruled in favour of a man who swapped the carpet in his new apartment for parquet flooring, incurring the wrath of the retired couple who lived below him over his loud footsteps. READ  

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,180
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd