Cardinal Woelki under pressure – hundreds of accused according to a new report
Dhe as yet unpublished new abuse report for the Archdiocese of Cologne lists hundreds of victims and accused. The re are more than 300 suspicious transaction reports, more than 300 victims and more than 200 accused, reports the news magazine “Der Spiegel”. The abuse report commissioned by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki from Cologne is to be published on March 18.
“ The numbers are known because we have already communicated them on various occasions in the past,” said the criminal lawyer, Professor Björn Gercke, commissioned by the church on Saturday. Woelki had previously announced that Gercke had investigated 236 cases from the Archdiocese of Cologne. According to “Spiegel”, this involves the systematic evaluation of files and tens of thousands of pages. The investigation period goes back to 1975.
What is striking, however, is that the numbers now published are significantly higher than the numbers from the so-called MHG study of the German Bishops’ Conference of 2018. At that time, 135 victims of sexual violence and 87 accused clerics were reported for the Archdiocese of Cologne over a period of 70 years.
Woelki holds back the first report
Gercke gave several reasons for the differences to the MHG study. His report does not only consider clerics, but also non-consecrated employees of the archdiocese. In addition, “a distinction must be made between reports of suspicions and actual (criminal) offenses”.
Woelki had announced the comprehensive processing of sexual violence by clergy in the Archdiocese of Cologne. However, he is under pressure because he is holding back an initial report that investigates how diocesan officials deal with allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic priests. Woelki gave legal reasons for this. According to a report by the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”, the Munich report that was withheld comes to similar numbers of victims and accused as Gercke.
Woelki’s approach triggered an unprecedented crisis of confidence in the largest German diocese. The demand for people leaving the church has soared in Cologne that the district court has increased the number of online appointments. However, the denomination of the citizens concerned cannot be read from the appointment bookings.
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Archdiocese Cologne Cardinal Woelki pressure hundreds accused report