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Catholic Church thwarts child abuse investigation
Photo: DPA

Catholic Church thwarts child abuse investigation

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

Church officials have apparently thwarted a comprehensive investigation into widespread child abuse at Catholic institutions in Germany.

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)

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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.
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