“Trust destroyed once again”

Symbolic image files © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

These are clear words: The Cologne Diocesan Association of the Federation of German Catholic Youth criticizes the Archdiocese of Cologne for its handling of the abuse study commissioned by it.

The Archbishop of Cologne and Vicar General Markus Hofmann had "within a year by their actions once again destroyed the trust of many victims of sexualized violence in the Catholic Church," the association said in a statement published on its website on Thursday.

Those who leave victims of sexual violence behind to protect institution should not be in responsible position of church, it said.

Hierarchical power structures would have to be dismantled and effective power control would have to be implemented at all levels, said the BDKJ. In particular, the youth federation criticized the Archdiocese of Cologne's handling of the advisory council of victims of sexualized violence. The advisory council has not been involved in the diocese's actions since the publication of the abuse study was postponed, it said.

New study announced

The archdiocese had surprisingly announced at the end of October that it had commissioned the Cologne criminal law expert Bjorn Gercke with a new investigation on the subject of abuse. At the same time, it was informed that the expert opinion of the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) will not be published due to methodological flaws. The lawyers had received the order in December 2018.

The presentation, scheduled for March, was canceled at short notice in order to still legally secure the planned naming of misconduct by former or active decision-makers. Gercke wants his expertise no later than 18. March 2021 submittal. In this context, the spokesman for the affected persons' advisory council, Patrick Bauer, had announced his resignation at the beginning of November.

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