After the presentation of the controversial abuse report, the Archdiocese of Cologne has strengthened its intervention office. A new, fourth staff position has been filled, the diocese announced in Cologne on Friday.
Thus in the future among other things cases should be processed faster. "This measure serves to ensure that those affected can receive a measure of justice more quickly than before," said Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. "I consistently continue on the path of coming to terms with sexual abuse."
Vicar General Markus Hofmann announced that a working group for the intervention center would soon be formed to translate further recommendations into a future concept. According to intervention officer Malwine Marzotko, the upcoming structural changes are intended to increase the independence and content quality of the work.
According to the information, the intervention center in the archdiocese of Cologne becomes active when previous cases of sexualized violence become known or new allegations emerge. Accordingly, it clarifies the facts of the case, talks to those involved and opens an ecclesiastical procedure. The office also makes reports to the prosecutor's office as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican.
Expert opinion with at least 75 breaches of duty
In mid-March, a team led by the criminal lawyer Bjorn Gercke presented an abuse report for the Archdiocese of Cologne. It certifies several high officials at least 75 breaches of duty in dealing with abuse cases. For example, they are said not to have investigated suspicious circumstances and not to have cared for victims. After the presentation, the archdiocese announced an eight-point plan – including the strengthening of the intervention center that has now taken place.
For months, Cardinal Woelki has been under prere because of the events surrounding the expert opinion. He is accused of having been involved in a cover-up. The experts see however no obligation injury with the archbishop. In one case, he himself admitted that he had not behaved correctly by not reporting the matter to the Vatican. Although he had acted dutifully and legally, Woelki said. "But it is not only a matter of doing the right thing, but also of doing everything humanly possible. And I have not done that." Critics accuse him of misconduct in other cases from the expert report.