Scientific reappraisal

Scientific reappraisal

Spire of the cathedral in Osnabruck, Germany © Friso Gentsch

Osnabruck diocese has abuse cases in its area independently investigated by scientists. The University of Osnabruck is to prepare a historical and legal study on sexualized violence in the diocese.

A contract for the three-year research project was signed this week by the two parties, they announced jointly on Thursday. The project is headed by legal scholar Hans Schulte-Nolke and historian Siegrid Westphal.

The study makes an independent scientific contribution to coming to terms with sexualized violence against minors and adults in need of protection or assistance in the diocese, it said. More details are to be announced at a press conference Tuesday.

Several accused in the diocese of Osnabruck

In 2018, the German bishops had published a study on sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. It recorded at least 68 people affected and 35 clerics accused in the Osnabruck diocese between 1946 and 2015.

Several dioceses had already commissioned their own investigations – with different scientific emphases. After a long dispute, the archdiocese of Cologne presented an expert opinion prepared by lawyers in March. In the diocese of Munster, historians are currently working on a study. So far, there is no uniform approach among the dioceses.

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