The following is an excerpt from Luisa Beck and Chico Harlan | September 25, 2018 | Thewashingtonpost.com |
BERLIN — A report to be released Tuesday documents the sexual abuse of more than 3,600 people by 1,670 clergy members within Germany’s Catholic Church over a period of 68 years — and even those numbers probably underestimate the scale of the problem, the authors say.
Abuse of that magnitude constitutes one of the largest Catholic Church scandals in Europe. But at the same time, it is not altogether surprising to many church watchers. Evidence of widespread abuse and its coverup has been found in every jurisdiction that has launched an investigation. Australia, Chile and several U.S. states are part of the growing list.
The German report, commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference and conducted by researchers from three German universities, provides a snapshot not only of abuse but of the trauma and isolation faced by victims long afterward.
It also contradicts a narrative held among some in the church that the abuse cases coming to light now are all old and that the problem has since been addressed. The German researchers said abuse occurred throughout the period they examined, from 1946 until 2014.
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