The processing of the abuse scandal in the dioceses continues to make progress. Now the diocese of Erfurt is having all the personal files available in its ordinariate checked for indications of suspected cases of sexual abuse.
Bishop Ulrich Neymeyr instructed the retired senior public prosecutor Franz Trost (71) from Fulda to analyze all files with personal data on clergymen that go beyond the personnel files, as the episcopal press office announced on Tuesday. The personnel files had already been collected in the course of the study published in September by the German Bishops' Conference on the sexual abuse of minors by clerics.
The reason for the additional file review was the case of a priest from the diocese of Erfurt, who is accused of multiple sexual abuse of a minor, which became known in December. According to the diocese, there were no references to this in his personnel file; however, a memo from the then personnel manager from 1989 about accusations that the priest had exhibited "homosexual behavior toward young people" was found outside of it.
The diocese filed a complaint. While the state proceedings were discontinued in January due to the statute of limitations, the church proceedings are still ongoing.
Bishop Neymeyr wants clarity
"I want clarity. We owe this to the victims of sexual abuse," Neymeyr said, explaining his decision to have additional files examined. It concerns so-called Nebenakten of the personnel responsible persons, altogether 30 folders.
They contain materials that were not included in the personnel files, such as letters of complaint, petitions, protocols, carbon copies, correspondence and notes of conversations. Each diocese decides for itself what goes into the auxiliary file and what into the personnel file. There is no standard procedure for this within the German Bishops' Conference so far. The researchers of the nationwide abuse study had criticized this fact as a shortcoming.
In the territory of the Erfurt diocese, founded in 1994, ten priests are known so far to have sexually abused children and adolescents in the period from 1946 to 2014. The victims are ten boys and two girls who were between 8 and 20 years old at the time of the crime. The majority of the acts were committed by 1980.