• 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
'Blackfacing' is Anglicism of the Year
They may be collecting for charity, but this is not really OK. Photo: DPA

'Blackfacing' is Anglicism of the Year

"Blackfacing", used by Germans to describe white people painting their skin dark to mimic black people, has been named Anglicism of the Year by a jury of linguists. READ  

Cocaine-cop trial shakes Bavarian Alps
File photo: DPA

Cocaine-cop trial shakes Bavarian Alps

For 20 years no-one noticed that the head of the drug squad in Kempten, Bavaria, was on a personal rampage of narcotics- and domestic abuse - until his wife shopped him for the €250,000 brick of cocaine he had stashed. But the local population isn't buying the story. READ  

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'
Photo: DPA

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday and wished him "much strength and success" after his anti-austerity party's election victory. READ  

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014
Swastika graffiti at a refugee home in Bavaria with text reading "No asylum seekers". Photo: DPA

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014

Refugee NGOs' first annual report on violence against asylum seekers found that there were over 200 attacks on people and accommodation in 2014. READ  

'No German identity without Auschwitz'
President Gauck addressing the Bundestag on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

'No German identity without Auschwitz'

President Joachim Gauck on Tuesday warned Germans against drawing a line under the Holocaust as the Bundestag (parliament) opened a day of commemorations on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. READ  

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double
Manuel Neuer at the inauguration of his double in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double

Madame Tussauds' hottest new effigy was unveiled to the public in Berlin on Tuesday, costing a euro for each of the 150,000 hairs on keeper Manuel Neuer's head. Pity about the handball goal frame though… READ  

Railway union threatens strike over €2
EVG members outside a station during a 2013 strike. Photo: DPA

Railway union threatens strike over €2

As railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) continues negotiations with train drivers' union GDL, its other major union EVG has threatened a strike over pay differences between employees. READ  

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000
Photo: DPA

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000

As Pegida supporters and opponents clashed in Hanover, musicians threw a free concert in central Dresden on Monday evening to show another side to the city famous for spawning the anti-Islam movement. READ  

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz
"Work will set you free," the gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau tells inmates. Photo: DPA

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz

Chancellor Angela Merkel joined survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Berlin on Monday to open a series of events dedicated to the end of the Holocaust camp regime 70 years ago. READ  

JobTalk Germany: Entrepreneur series
'Work I love and a rewarding family life'
Working mum photo: Shutterstock

'Work I love and a rewarding family life'

Melanie Fieseler is a British business/career consultant and coach, and founder of Berlin-based WorkSmart. She is on a mission to help ambitious mums like herself successfully combine motherhood with building a fulfilling and rewarding career or business. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
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

1,806
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd