Symbolic image of abuse © R.Classen (shutterstock)
Study published in late 2018 on sexual abuse by Catholic clergy has no criminal relevance in the Archdiocese of Hamburg so far. According to the authorities, the investigations have now largely been closed.
After the archdiocese handed over a total of 18 files on alleged cases of abuse to the responsible public prosecutors' offices in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the state investigations have now largely been discontinued, as the spokespersons for the respective public prosecutors' offices announced on request.
Acts time-barred or insufficient suspicion
Only in one case the public prosecutor's office Lubeck still examines according to own data a partial aspect. The Hamburg prosecutor general's office also said there were "no sufficient factual indications of a prosecutable criminal offense" for investigations against senior church employees in connection with abuse cases that had become known to them.
The archdiocese had referred seven cases to the Hamburg attorney general's office, one to the Rostock attorney general's office, four to the Kiel prosecutor's office and six to the Lubeck prosecutor's office after the nationwide abuse study was published.
In most cases, according to the respective authorities, investigations were discontinued after examination of the documents or not even begun because the acts were time-barred or there was no sufficient suspicion. Partly, he said, the accused clergy have also already died.
Nationwide almost 3.700 victims of abuse
As part of the study on sexual abuse presented by the German bishops in 2018, there was evidence in church files from 1946 to 2014 of 3 nationwide.677 victims of sexual assault and on about 1.670 accused priests, deacons and religious have been found.
In the territory of what is now the archdiocese of Hamburg, 103 victims and 33 accused priests have been recorded. A particularly large number of cases were registered in Mecklenburg. There, the archdiocese launched a study at the end of last year for independent experts to come to terms with the situation.