Berlin Catholic archdiocese releases previously unpublished section of abuse report

St. Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin, Germany St. Hedwig’s Cathedral, the cathedral of the Berlin’s Catholic archdiocese. | Cedric BLN via Wikimedia (Public domain).

The Catholic archdiocese of Berlin published Friday a previously unreleased section of a report on clerical abuse.

The archdiocese announced June 18 the publication of Part C of the report “Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, deacons, and male religious in the area of ​​the Archdiocese of Berlin since 1946.”

The report, originally issued Jan. 29, was commissioned by the archdiocese in November 2018 and compiled by the law firm Redeker Sellner Dahs.

It concluded that 61 clerics were accused of abusing 121 minors in the archdiocese that covers the German capital between 1946 and 2020.

Part C of the report presents the personnel files of the accused clerics.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that the names of many of the 61 accused clerics do not appear in the newly published section.

Names, file numbers, place names, and other content relating to accused clergy are blacked out.

The archdiocese argued that the redactions were “legally necessary.”

Other German dioceses are publishing similar reports, including Cologne archdiocese, which released the 800-page Gercke Report in March.

A study of the handling of abuse claims in the archdiocese of Munich and Freising, by the Munich law firm Westpfahl-Spilker-Wastl, is expected to be released in the next few months.

CNA Deutsch said that, unlike the Cologne study, the Berlin report did not provide an assessment of personal accountability when it came to the responsibility for handling cases.

CNA Deutsch noted that Archbishop Heiner Koch, archbishop of Berlin since 2015, was mentioned in 13 cases, as were other senior figures serving in the archdiocese over the past decades.

The archdiocese said that the report did not mark the end of its efforts to investigate past cases and “remedy identified structural deficits.”

“By publishing the report, the archdiocese of Berlin hopes that further victims of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults will be encouraged to come forward and disclose their case,” it said.

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