“We simply need help there”

Bishop Helmut Dieser © Julia Steinbrecht (KNA)

After the publication of an abuse report for the diocese of Aachen, Bishop Helmut Dieser is working on further clarification. He said his diocese is currently in talks with the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia.

This involves the establishment of an independent processing commission, said this to the "Rheinische Post" (Thursday). "We cannot do this difficult reappraisal alone; we simply need help there, also from independent persons outside the church."In the spring, the public will be informed about the further steps to be taken. Also about the mechanism of a concerning advisory board one considers.

Expert opinion on "undeserved leniency" toward offenders

Last November, the Munich-based law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) published an abuse report for the Aachen diocese.
It sheds light on how former leaders in the diocese dealt with alleged assaults by clerics. The investigation attests, among other things, to former bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff and his former vicar general Manfred von Holtum's "undeserved leniency" toward priests suspected of abuse, some of whom were also convicted.

The Munich law firm also prepared such an expert opinion for the Archdiocese of Cologne. So far, however, it has not been made public because Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki considers it flawed and not legally sound. He had a second expert opinion prepared, which will be published next Thursday. Bishop Dieser, on the other hand, expressed satisfaction with WSW. The cooperation had been professional and the confrontation fair.Even after the publication of the report, there had been an "intensive and good exchange" with the chancellery.

Agreement with abuse commissioner

Last June, the German Bishops' Conference was the first institution in Germany to sign an agreement with the Federal Government Commissioner for Abuse, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig, on dealing with sexual abuse. According to the report, there should be independent processing commissions in all 27 dioceses in the future. Representatives of the diocese, experts from science, professional practice, justice and public administration as well as affected persons are to sit on it.

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