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German Church Study Says Sex Abuser Priests Rarely Pedophiles

DIE WELT (Germany)


BERLIN - A forensic analysis of the psychiatric and psychological profiles of 78 German Catholic priests accused of child abuse between 2000 and 2010 shows that only nine were pedophiles. Four showed homosexual tendencies towards adolescent boys. Of the remaining 65, 54% were heterosexuals, 37% were homosexual, and nine were bisexual.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann told Die Welt that it was hoped the study, which was mandated by the Catholic Church, would help the Church to better understand and deal with priests accused of child abuse, and that it would constitute a further step towards transparency.

Norbert Denef, the founder and head of netzwerkB, a German network for victims of “sexualized violence,” called for an independent commission to investigate the sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church. This was the only way to ensure justice for victims, he said. "You wouldn’t ask the Mafia to investigate their own crimes,” he said.

Catholic priest, Germany. Photo Yaisog Bonegnasher

Reporting abuse to authorities should be mandatory, and there should be no statute of limitations in child abuse cases because it sometimes took decades for victims to come to terms with the events and speak out, Denef said.

Denef called the Church’s offer to pay every victim 5,000 euros of reparation money “a cheap way of buying [itself] out of taking responsibility.” Denef, himself abused by a parish priest as a child, says he wants a general “clear admission of guilt” from the Church, which he says is banking on limited public interest in the topic and playing for time before the subject dies down, and is not genuinely invested in dealing with the issue.

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