Pulling together

Pulling together

Call for cooperation: Andreas Sturm, vicar general of Speyer, and Barbara Geibinger, provincial superior of the Niederbronn Sisters, want to work together on allegations of abuse in connection with a children's home.

The cooperation is "part of our common responsibility," Geissinger said in a double interview published Thursday by the diocesan newspaper "pilger". An interface is the former sponsorship of the children's home by the Speyer cathedral church foundation. "Together we will also have to examine whether and to what extent there have been omissions since the first allegations became known in 2011," Geibinger said.

Turned out to be a fake

The provincial superior also referred to an expert opinion published last week by the Mannheim Schrift- und Urkundenlabor M.S.U. one that casts doubt on the claim that there was organized prostitution in the home 50 years ago. A copy of an allegedly handwritten document circulating in media circles, which was supposed to come from a sister's bookkeeping and prove the receipt of "lust money," turned out to be a forgery.

There is "not a shred of evidence," according to the provincial superintendent, that sex parties took place, according to a man who last year won a state pension under the Victims Compensation Act. At the same time, Geibinger "does not want to question at all that the person concerned suffered severe abuse". With some details it lacks however "a sufficiently clear picture".

No written evidence or proof

Sturm also said there was no written evidence or proof for the allegations of child prostitution and sex parties with priests and politicians. Also from conversations with other affected persons and contemporary witnesses no statements were known, which confirmed this reproach. Sturm also expressed doubts "whether this aspect of the accusations is actually true".

At the same time, the vicar general defended the fact that Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann had named former vicar general Rudolf Motzenbacker as an alleged abuser in December. Four people have independently accused Motzenbacker of sexual abuse, Sturm said. However, this does not imply any prejudgement.

The investigation and evaluation of the allegations is a matter for the independent processing commission, which is free to proceed as it sees fit.

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