Bishop Bertram Meier of Augsburg has appointed an independent commission for his diocese to deal with sexual abuse. Meier thus implements the proposals from the so-called "Joint Declaration".
The Catholic German Bishops' Conference and the abuse commissioner of the German government, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig, had decided on this statement in 2020, the diocese said on Tuesday.
Accordingly, Meier, in agreement with the Bavarian state government, appointed the following five members to the commission: Bernhard Koloczek, former judge at the Federal Social Court; Michele Noterdaeme, chief physician of child and adolescent psychiatry and therapy at the Josefinum Augsburg; Hubert Paul, president of the Augsburg Social Court; Manfred Prexl, former presiding judge at the Munich Higher Regional Court; and Gerda Riedl, a theologian and employee of the diocese.
Disclose files and do not interfere
After its constitution, the commission will select five members for an affected persons' advisory board from the applications received, the statement continued. The advisory council would then in turn send two permanent delegates to the processing commission. How long it will take the commission to come up with results after that is an open question, he said. The "joint statement" talks of annual interim reports and a "preliminary final report" within five years, he said.
Bishop Meier promised, "The Diocese of Augsburg will make available any files in our possession that the Reappraisal Commission deems relevant to its work, but will not otherwise interfere in any way."Failure and blame must be named – we owe that to those affected," he said. "We need a cleansing of memory so that the much-desired spiritual renewal of the church can come to fruition," Meier said.