Symbolic image of abuse in the Catholic Church © Artur Szczybylo (shutterstock)
Those affected by the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Mecklenburg are now to be included in the process of coming to terms with it. The researchers from the University of Ulm commissioned with the study invite them to interviews, as the Archdiocese of Hamburg announced on Tuesday.
Alternatively, it would also be possible to fill out a questionnaire. The surveys took place anonymously, it was said. Those affected, who had contacted the independent contact persons of the archdiocese in advance, are invited to participate by letter. It is the overriding goal of the study to "make the individual experiences of those affected visible," it says. In addition, church-institutional and societal conditions should be recorded "and ways of influencing measures to detect the crime, punish the perpetrators and prevent it should be investigated".
Interview and questionnaire should include information on the crime, the circumstances of the crime, the consequences for the victims and the influence of the abuse on the further course of life. In addition, the "retrospective evaluation of hindering and promoting reactions/measures to uncover the crime and punish the perpetrator" will be queried.
Coming to terms with the period from 1945 to 1989
Archbishop Stefan Hebe had set up an advisory board in 2018 to deal with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church of Mecklenburg. The latter commissioned scientists from the University of Ulm with a two-year research project. The reappraisal, led by psychiatrist Manuela Dudeck, covers the period from 1945 to 1989.
A study by the German Bishops' Conference had registered a particularly large number of cases of sexual abuse in the Mecklenburg part of the Archdiocese of Hamburg. According to the report, 17 priests are known to have committed acts of abuse against 54 children and adolescents. One of the main suspects is the priest Hermann-Josef Timmerbeil, who died in 1979 and led the parish of Neubrandenburg between 1946 and 1975.