German’s Catholic Church responsible for 3,600 sex abuse cases perpetrated by at least 1,670 clergy members
The abuse, which occurred over a period of 68 years, is one of the biggest Catholic Church scandals in Europe.
The report was commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference and conducted by researchers from three German universities, who examined cases from 1946 until 2014.
“We are experiencing a very dark hour in our church’s history, which will hopefully result in a cleansing and renewal,” Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, from Essen, wrote in a letter to his diocese.
“The dangers are far from being exorcised. We must fear that there is and could still be sexual abuse among us.”
The Washington Post reported that an advance copy of the 356-page report was shared with it by German newspaper Die Zeit.
The news outlet confirmed details of the experience of individual victims are not included and the report doesn’t provide the names of alleged abusers or those who allegedly helped protect them.
While the report includes interviews with 214 victims, the researchers found that only 30 per cent had reported the abuse to someone else, and that the majority of those who did were punished for doing so.