Lifestyle & Belief

Germany's Catholic Church calls off sex abuse investigation


Protesters hold a banner which reads 'Bishops, stop the sexual abuse' in the southern German city of Freiburg on February 22, 2010.



BERLIN, Germany — The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has called off an investigation into alleged sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

The independent inquiry was commissioned in 2011, in response to accusations of abuse at multiple Catholic schools across Germany.

Today, Deutsche Welle reported, the German Bishops' Conference announced that it was cancelling the investigation due to disagreements with the team of experts carrying it out.

"The relationship of mutual trust [...] has been destroyed," DW quoted the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, as saying.

A panel of retired prosecutors and judges, led by Professor Christian Pfeiffer of the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, was responsible for looking into the allegations against Church employees.

Pfeiffer told German newspaper the Süddeutsche Zeitung that Church officials had attempted to "censor" his team's findings, seeking to control which results would be made public and to select which researchers were allowed to be involved.

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Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told the paper that she had demanded an immediate explanation from the Church.

The Bishops' Conference denies that it is failing to confront the issue and says it plans to commission a new abuse inquiry from a different team in the coming months.

According to the BBC, tens of thousands of German Catholics deserted the Church after years of child abuse came to light in 2010.

As Cameron Abadi reported for GlobalPost back in April 2010, polls at the time showed that nearly a quarter of Germany's Catholics were considering leaving the faith because of the Church's disregard for the trust that German society had placed in it.