Dealing with abuse and prevention are major tasks for the church © Tinnakorn jorruang (shutterstock)
The diocese of Speyer has drawn up an interim balance of the efforts made so far to come to terms with the abuse. Current indications are followed up, every suspicion is reported to the public prosecutor's office.
For the years 2010 until today, the abuse commissioners of the diocese of Speyer have received information about 28 current suspected cases of sexual abuse or borderline violations. In five cases priests were accused, in the others it was a matter of misconduct of educators, nurses or volunteers, as the diocese announced on Monday. These figures show that there is no "fixation on priests as perpetrators".
Most recently, the Mannheim psychiatrist Harald Drebing had published a study according to which the rate of abuse allegations against priests had not decreased in recent times. Several dioceses now countered this analysis with reference to their own figures.
Every suspicion is communicated to the public prosecutor's office
The Speyer abuse commissioners Ansgar Schreiner and Dorothea Kuppers-Lehmann emphasized that an increasing number of indications of abuse or violation of boundaries could also be due to a higher level of attention and attentiveness. At the same time, not every recent case of suspected abuse in the diocese of Speyer has been confirmed.
Every suspicion was nevertheless reported to the public prosecutor's office. Since 2000, he said, two perpetrators have been convicted in the Speyer diocese, one a priest and the other a social pedagogue.
Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann said he had met with numerous people affected by abuse in recent months. "Every conversation is a harrowing experience for me." He had become aware that abuse experiences often have negative consequences for the entire life. In this respect, it is important for the church to take the perspective of the victims, said Wiesemann.
Personnel files of priests evaluated
In recent years, the diocese has investigated a total of 238 suspected cases of abuse. The vast majority of cases occurred decades ago, according to the diocese. As part of a nationwide study of clerical abuse, personnel files of priests in the Speyer diocese were also evaluated, in some cases going back to 1912.
In total, the diocese has 315 victims of abuse to date.000 euros paid as "recognition of suffering experienced" or to finance therapies, said Schreiner. Since 2010, six priests who were suspected of a sexual violation of boundaries had been sanctioned in church law proceedings, be it with a ban on celebrating church services or a ban on approaching children and young people.
"Recognize basic patterns of perpetrators" and "counter prevention"
Vicar General Andreas Sturm announced his own social science review in the Speyer diocese. The diocese is currently looking for a suitable partner. The goal is "to recognize the basic patterns of the perpetrators and to be able to counter them with effective prevention," said Sturm. The head of the administration of the diocese also referred to the prevention efforts made so far.
Thus 2.200 employees have been trained accordingly. Experts have also been trained for church schools.