• Germany's news in English

Catholic abuse victims offered firm payout

The Local · 24 Jan 2011, 07:15

Published: 24 Jan 2011 07:15 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Klaus Mertes, rector of Canisius College, the elite Jesuit school in Berlin at which the first allegations surfaced, told daily Berliner Zeitung’s Monday edition that the 205 known victims would share about €1 million in damages payments, meaning each will receive roughly €5,000.

The figure was immediately rejected as insufficient by a victims’ group.

The onslaught of revelations of sex abuse within the Catholic Church began in January 2010 when it emerged that priests at Canisius committed dozens of sexual assaults on pupils in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mertes told the paper that the church would “finalise the precise sums and carry out he payment of probably about €1 million in total.”

Matthias Katsch of the group Eckiger Tisch, which represents victims, said the sum was disappointing and in no way adequate.

Mertes himself revealed the scandal a year ago. After writing to former students of the college to alert them to the fact that former teachers were being investigated for abuse, he then held a press conference to announce the discovery.

Story continues below…

Sexual abuse allegations at other Catholic schools began to surface and quickly turned into a flood of claims.

The Local

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:25 January 24, 2011 by alidogar
and they blame only muslims for the social unrest..
12:43 January 24, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
5000 euros each?? that's the best they can do??

The Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest entities on the planet. Not just as far as religious groups go, but in general. Yes, money alone doesn't undo the horrific damage caused by child sexual abuse. But 5000 euros, as compensation for abuse which for some victims stretched over many years?? that's a slap in the face of the victims, and a slap on the wrist for the Church itself, considering its vast overall wealth which must well go into the tens of billions.

Any civilian organization that would have had an abuse scandal of this magnitude, including all the covering up and denial and obstruction of justice, would long be shut down, its assets seized and handed over to the victims, and its top dignitaries would be serving long prison sentences. Just a thought...
12:47 January 24, 2011 by auniquecorn
Ha Ha, Only in germany the church can get away with this.
13:59 January 24, 2011 by golfcricket
Unbelievable! Religion??? That's what's wrong with this world.. Almost every single big story, big crime, is related and affiliated with religion... All I can do is shake my head.. It's not only in Germany it's everywhere... It's very sad about all the victims, but i'm sure they're all back in church forgiving and praying..
14:17 January 24, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
The real problem is that the church still has great trouble accepting blame and responsibility as an institution. Paying out one million euros to 200 people doesn't change that. It is not an admission of guilt.

It's one thing to have hundreds of kiddie rapists in your priesthood. They are each accountable for their own actions, same as anybody. But the Catholic Church's fall from grace is the way they have been dealing with it. Sexual abuse was handled as a matter behind closed doors, one that was covered up, denied, and kept quiet about. It was shrouded from worldly authorities including police and governments, and offenders were merely transferred to other positions where again they had contact with children and often reoffended. The child abuse thus became not just a crime committed by individual priests, but the Catholic Church made itself an enabler and accomplice.
14:35 January 24, 2011 by golfcricket
@iseedaftpeople - You're 100% correct! "But" whats wrong with everything you stated? The church is protected and everything is being covered. Is it ok to be a molestor/rapist in church?? Sure it is - due to the fact have you seen anyone "accountable" for these actions? NO In the real world, "one" would be sentenced to a lengthy prison term and become a registered sex offender.. (Well that's usually how the US operates) Church is just a brilliant cover up... My hat goes off to them - NOT! Hey - you wanna join the church and get away with sexual crimes?? Join!! This topic just makes me boil...
15:16 January 24, 2011 by iseedaftpeople

but that's the whole point - the Catholic Church has covered up child sexual abuse precisely to protect its priests from prosecution (well, and to avert damage to the church's reputation as a whole). Because the church knew darn well that its priests would likely have been convicted, and quite possibly would have gone to prison if authorities had found out. Add to that the crime of enabling or abetting sexual abuse, and prisons would be flooded with clerics. And now that the church is faced with endless abuse allegations like a rabbit caught in the headlights, all it does is blame others: from individual priests to our "sexualized culture", everything is brought into question, but oh no, the church itself as an institution has nothing to do with it...

Yes, in that respect, church is a "brilliant cover up" - but there is more to it. The Catholic Church's entire attitute to sexuality and all things sexual. In a religious institution which by default treats everything and anything sexual as a big no-no, something that cannot be talked about other than condemning it as sin, it should be no surprise that when faced with a sex scandal within its own ranks, the Church has no way of dealing with it other than sanctimoniously keeping it "hush-hush", pretending it never happened and putting blame on others.

But that's also the big irony of the Catholic Church - complacent as it may be in teaching its sheep the evils of sex - that is, consensual sex between willing participants - its own dignitaries, priests, bishops and whatnot who are supposed to embody and personify the Church's moral authority, commit perhaps the biggest moral sins of all by raping and molesting innocent children.

And to think that people still ask me why I am an atheist...
15:48 January 24, 2011 by golfcricket
Very well said @ iseeddaftpeople!!!!! It's a topic we can go on and on about, but do believe an individual is responsible for his or hers own actions and therefore must be accounted for.. So tired of hearing "god wanted me to do it" "god made me do it" "if wasn't for god none of this would have happened" "praise the lord, I couldn't have done it without him" I respect people for who they are, and no victim deserves to be manipulated, intimidated or sabotaged for religious beliefs or any beliefs for that matter.. Come on ~ We're all human beings!
16:40 January 24, 2011 by LoyolaAlum
The Jesuit Order in California paid $7 million in the sex assault case involving Br. Charles Connor and two lifetime employees of the Jesuit Order.
18:36 January 24, 2011 by duckys
I guess it is time to say "No" to the church tax...
04:50 January 25, 2011 by Prufrock2010
I believe (and I'm not being facetious) that the Catholic Church is a global criminal enterprise and should be prosecuted under the racketeering statutes of each country that has such statutes. Failing that, it should be prosecuted in the US under the federal RICO statutes as a racketeer influenced organization. The problem is that the Vatican is a sovereign nation which enjoys sovereign immunity from foreign prosecution. The Church itself, however, enjoys no such immunity.
14:40 January 25, 2011 by tallady
As stated earlier the Church has been and most likely remains an enabler of child sex abuse. I am not knowledgeable about the inter workings of the law,but it seems that when the church knew there had been abuse committed ,they were legally required to report this to the authorities,not simply transfer the offending priest to another parish.A crime was committed..

@Prufrock..is this the situation or are they not liable for such actions in criminal court???
21:34 January 25, 2011 by Prufrock2010
@ tallady

I can only speak to American courts. The Church itself has no criminal liability, only civil liability -- and even that is difficult to prove. Some attempts have been made to charge the Church under the federal civil racketeering statutes, but have so far been unsuccessful in the jurisdictions where the actions have been brought. Having successfully prosecuted a few civil RICO actions, I still am of the opinion that these statutes can be used successfully, particularly in class actions, to hold the Church accountable civilly if the plaintiffs' attorney knows how to plead and prosecute a civil RICO action properly. The value of filing under RICO is that the defendant is liable for treble damages if you prevail.

A common misconception is that the RICO statutes are only in place to prosecute organized crime; i.e, the Mafia. While that was their original intent, they have been expanded to include all kinds of criminal and civil wrongs that meet the strict RICO requirements, including a pattern of illegal activity that includes at least two predicate criminal acts within the previous 10 years. The Church's conduct in abetting and covering up these crimes certainly falls squarely within those criteria.
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd