Accusations rejected

Accusations rejected

Archbishop Stefan Hebe © Lars Berg (KNA)

Hamburg Archbishop Stefan Hebe is again accused of misconduct in an abuse case. Image.de quoted from a confidential special report.

After he became aware of a suspected case in 2008 as head of personnel in the archdiocese of Cologne, he did not inform the abuse commissioner of the archdiocese about it and thus possibly prevented the clarification of the assaults, Bild quoted.de (Monday) from a confidential special report of the dioceses Cologne, Muenster and Essen from the 1. August 2019.

In the case it concerns a retirement clergyman coming from the archdiocese Cologne. In 1972 he was sentenced to prison for "continued fornication with children and addicts". He worked in the diocese of Munster from 1973 until he received a suspended sentence in 1988 for sexual acts with minors. A year later he returned to Cologne as a chaplain for old people's homes. As a retired chaplain, he worked in Bochum-Wattenscheid from 2002 to 2015.

Reply letter to affected person

According to bild.de, a presumed aggrieved party turned to the Archdiocese of Cologne in 2008 and reported "massive sexual assaults" in a kindergarten by the priest in the early 1960s. A spokesman for Heb said in response to a question from the Catholic News Agency (KNA) that at the time, the archdiocese's abuse commissioner had informed the former vicar general and current auxiliary bishop of Cologne, Dominikus Schwaderlapp, about the incident and the person's request for information. At Schwaderlapp's request, Hebe had given the desired information in a lengthy letter of reply.

The spokesman also contradicted the account that Hebe had replied to the person concerned that there were no complaints about the clergyman. He and the abuse commissioner of the archdiocese had verbally and in writing addressed the longer prison sentence of the priest.

Special report from Munich law firm

According to the newspaper, the special report was prepared by the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, which has come under criticism. The firm was also tasked with investigating the diocese's leadership's handling of abuse cases on behalf of the Cologne archdiocese. Because of alleged methodological deficiencies, the archdiocese canceled the publication at the end of October and commissioned a new reviewer. The office plans to publish a similar report for the diocese of Aachen on Thursday.

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