Pastoral support

Regensburg diocese rejects demands for money from abuse victims of former Riekofen priest. There is "legally no basis" for this, said a diocese spokesman in Regensburg on Monday at the request of ddp. Only the priest had promised financial help to the children and had already provided it. The diocese had offered exclusively pastoral support as well as the switching of a therapy.

The shock in the small Upper Palatinate community a year ago was great. Most of Riekofen's residents reacted in disbelief last summer to the news that their beloved pastor, Peter K. had sexually abused an eleven-year-old altar boy. The Regensburg bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller was put in a tough spot by the case – because it turned out that the diocese had long known that the clergyman already had a criminal record for child abuse. On Thursday (13. March), Peter K. to stand trial before the Regensburg Regional Court.

Diminished culpability? The priest's lawyer, Alois Kolbl, announced that the 40-year-old would testify at the trial, which was scheduled to last only one day. "My client is confessed", he emphasized in the ddp interview. The aim is to spare the now 14-year-old victim from having to testify in court. According to the indictment, Peter K., who sits since August 2007 in pre-trial detention, itself in 22 cases at the altar boy at that time. Kolbl, however, wants to prove by means of an expert opinion that his client is of diminished culpability "due to a disorder of consciousness": The priest is attested a "homoerotic core pedophilia". The defendant faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The case caused indignation above all because Peter K's inclinations were not known. had been known for years. The clergyman had already been convicted of sexual abuse of children in 2000 when he was a chaplain in Viechtach, Lower Bavaria. At the time, he got off with a year's suspended sentence. During his three-year probationary period, he worked in an old people's home. However, in 2004, the bishop of Regensburg reinstated him in a parish. Peter K. came to Riekofen and was even allowed to teach as a religion teacher at an elementary school.

Diocese under Dru Diocese speaker Jakob Schorz ared in the ddp interview, the psychotherapist of many years of the priest had excluded before in its final appraisal that the man had a "fixed Padophilie". According to the letter, the assaults in Viechtach were a "one-time regressive behavior". The expert opinion had held out the prospect "that he could be reinstated". For this reason, the transfer of the priest to Riekofen did not violate the guidelines of the German Bishops' Conference, according to which pedophile priests are no longer allowed to work in places where they come into contact with children or adolescents, in the opinion of the diocese. So far, the diocese has not made contact with the boy. "We were not aware of the name until now," justified Schorz. In addition, one wanted to prevent the accusation of influencing the process. Following the proceedings, however, the diocese wants to offer the victim from Riekofen "in any case psychotherapeutic measures".

Pastoral support However, such an offer is apparently not on the cards for the children from Viechtach who were abused in the 1990s. Last week, the diocese received a letter from the affected family from Lower Bavaria. This demands in it from Peter K. and the diocese 21 500 euros to finance further therapy for their two abused sons. The diocese refused to pay money on the grounds that from the beginning they had only offered pastoral support or the mediation of therapy. There is "no legal basis" for demanding money from the diocese, said a diocese spokesman in Regensburg on Monday at the request of ddp. Only the priest had promised financial help to the children and had already provided it.The family from Viechtach in Lower Bavaria had already demanded a monthly compensation payment from the diocese at the end of 2007 and had been rejected even then. Bishop Muller is just as unyielding. Despite great prere from the public, he has so far refused to apologize for employing the priest with a criminal record in Riekofen. Diocese spokesman Schorz stressed: "The guilt lies with the offender himself, not with the bishop."

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Christina Cherry
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