“Leads clarification ad absurdum”

No sooner is it published than displeasure is voiced: The nationwide victims' initiative Eckiger Tisch has criticized the Archdiocese of Berlin for the expert opinion it submitted from a law firm on sexual abuse by chaplains.

Concrete information about the cases that were investigated in the process would not be published, complained the executive director of the initiative, Matthias Katsch, on Friday in Berlin. Those responsible are not identified, perpetrators are not named, and the victims have not been spoken to.

No help for the victims

In fact, this would prevent those affected from learning about each other, exchanging information and networking, Katsch emphasized. Also the public could not make itself a picture of the outrageous procedures. "This approach leads the effort to clarify and come to terms with the situation ad absurdum," said Katsch. The lawyers commissioned served "their clients, not the public and certainly not those affected".

At the same time, the initiative condemned the fact that the ie of compensation has been "repeatedly delayed and dragged out". This would apply especially to the victims of Catholic religious congregations. The first of these "have already ceased their business in Germany and have been informed by their branches abroad that they are unfortunately no longer prepared to bear any responsibility for the legacy of their activities in Germany".

Bishops would have to take responsibility

Here the bishops would have to take over the responsibility, said Katsch. Victims of a religious community in the area of a diocese must be able to turn to this diocese in any case in order to receive recognition, regardless of whether the religious community is willing or able to take responsibility.

Katsch was a student at the Berlin Canisius College and was sexually abused there. Together with former students and the then rector, Jesuit Father Klaus Mertes, he was instrumental in making the abuse scandal public eleven years ago.

He currently sits on the Independent Child Sexual Abuse Review Commission. As a member of the Bundestag, says Katsch, he wants to continue his commitment to those affected by abuse and to make child protection and children's rights an ie.

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Christina Cherry
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