More than 3,700 children in Germany were assaulted by Roman Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014, with one in six cases involving rape. Researchers from three German universities found that 1,670 clerics were involved.
The head of the Catholic Church in Germany apologised ‘for all the failure and pain’ following publication of the report on 25 September, saying the ‘guilty must be punished’. The report is the latest in a long series of revelations that have uncovered decades of sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests around the world.
Only 38 per cent of the alleged perpetrators were prosecuted, with most facing only minor disciplinary procedures. Most of the victims were boys, and more than half were aged 13 or younger. Predatory clerics were often moved to new communities, where no warning was issued about their actions.
The report’s authors said the true extent of the abuse may be even greater, as some records were ‘destroyed or manipulated’ and that ‘neither homosexuality nor celibacy are the sole causes of sexual abuse of minors’, instead blaming ‘complex interaction of sexual immaturity and the denial of homosexual inclinations in ambivalent, sometimes openly homophobic surroundings’.