“Careful reappraisal”

The Archdiocese of Cologne wants to carefully examine all files © Aleksandra Nigmatulina (shutterstock)

Publication of results of investigation into Archdiocese of Cologne personnel files relating to suspected abuse delayed. The commissioned law firm will present it only in the spring of 2020, the archdiocese announced on Friday.

Originally planned for publication in the fall of this year. A "careful reappraisal of the facts in question" is taking more time than previously amed, it was said. The archdiocese had reportedly made its files of all known cases of sexualized violence available for an independent investigation at the end of 2018.

Clarify the role of those responsible

The Munich law firm "Westphal Spilker Wastl" has been commissioned with this task. The archdiocese said that since 2010 it has been working intensively on the ie of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. In addition to the reappraisal of cases, the investigation also aims to clarify the role of those responsible at the time and today, such as personnel managers, vicars general and bishops.

The work of the office is supported by the Innsbruck canon lawyer Wilhelm Rees and the Jesuit priest Hans Zollner, who heads the Center for Child Protection (CCP) at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Abuse study of the Bishops

In the run-up to the inquiry, an abuse study by the German bishops had been published. A commissioned team of researchers had found evidence in church records from 1946 to 2014 of nationwide 3.677 victims of sexual assault and on about 1.670 accused priests, deacons and religious found. For the Archdiocese of Cologne, the investigation recorded 135 persons affected and 87 accused.

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