The "Independent Investigation into the Handling of Sexualized Violence in the Archdiocese of Cologne" meets with a high international response. In the USA, for example, the New York Times and the Washington Post reported on the Gercke report.
The publication of the independent investigation also attracted widespread interest from renowned media in other countries, such as the United Kingdom and Ireland (a.a. Independent, Daily Maily, Irish Times), France (u.a. Le Figaro, La Croix, Liberation, Le Parisien), Italy (u.a. La Repubblica, La Stampa, Corriere della Sera), Canada (National Post), Spain (u.a. El PaIs, El Mundo, ABC, Público).
In addition to international Catholic media such as Vatican News and Catholic World Report, individual newspapers in South America, Asia and Africa also reported.
Report to be translated
The "Gercke report" is noticed far beyond the borders of Germany and Europe. The law firm Gercke Wollschlager itself received several inquiries from affected persons and affected persons' organizations from other countries (Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia).
For this reason, Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki decided to have the report translated: "Sexualized violence and its cover-up is a crime that does not only happen here in Germany. Clarification and reappraisal have a high priority for the Church in Germany, but also worldwide, even if the German dioceses and the various countries are at different stages here. If with our Cologne report we can contribute a little bit to the progress of the church, then I am very happy about that."
Cologne criminal law experts Prof. Dr. Bjorn Gercke and Dr. Kerstin Stirner had on 18. The study, commissioned by the Archbishop of Cologne, was presented at a press conference on March 2021. On 23. March, Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki and his vicar general, Dr. Markus Hofmann announced the first concrete consequences and measures that will take place in the Archdiocese of Cologne on the basis of the study.
Establishment of an independent investigation commission
These consequences include, for example, the establishment of an independent processing commission in accordance with the agreement of the German Bishops' Conference with the Independent Commissioner for Questions of Sexual Child Abuse of the Federal Government, Johannes Wilhelm Rorig.
Other reforms include improved record keeping, strengthening of intervention in terms of personnel and organization, evaluation and further development of prevention, regular monitoring of accused clergy and laity, and changes in priestly training. Likewise, additional funds should be made available for increased recognition services for those affected by the crime.