Church has censored 560-page report detailing sexual abuse of children

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In what is being likened to a re-abuse of victims, the Roman Catholic Church is being criticized for refusing to release the "independent and comprehensive" investigation that then Archbishop of Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki had promised back in 2018 to look into the allegations of systematic sexual abuse of children living at a boarding home run by the Order of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer in the 1960s and 1970s.

 

The 560-page report, which covered the abuse of at least 175 individuals, mostly boys between the ages of 8 and 14, was completed in May 2020.

 

In October 2020 Woelki stated that the report was not "legally watertight" and contained "inadmissible prejudices" as a reason for not releasing the report.  A new investigation was promised.

 

"The survivors were used again," Karl Haucke, one of the survivors of the boarding home who had been serving as a spokesperson for a "victims' committee" stated in response to the censorship of the report.

 

Deutsche Welle reported that after several hours meeting and receiving legal advice, each of the survivors in the committee were asked whether or not they agreed with keeping the report private.  They agreed.

 

"People who have already been damaged in their lives by clergymen are being damaged again to protect the institution. When I finally realized what was going on I was immediately reminded of the original crimes," Haucke said after.  He soon resigned as spokesperson and filed a lawsuit.

 

He realized that the approval of the committee for withholding the report was imperative to the Archdiocese. “The findings must be toxic from the archdiocese’s point of view,” said Haucke, "That’s why our support was so important to them.”

 

Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesmann, the new head of the Archdioceses of Cologne stated that the report was "so gory" that it would shock people were it released. "I too have limited energy for the burdens I have to carry," he reportedly told KNA when explaining that he had to take a month-long sabbatical after reading the report.

 

Wiesmann succeeded Woelki to the position after Woelki was accused of failure to act against credible allegations of sexual abuse. In response to the allegations against him, he appealed to Pope Francis to investigate his handing of matters saying, ""The fact remains: failures in dealing with sexual violence must be disclosed, regardless of the person against whom they were made. This also includes me."

 

The charge against him relates to a priest in Düsseldorf with whom Woelki had previously worked when he was younger.  The priest was reported for abuse in 2010, and the victim was compensated in 2011 and yet, no actions were taken against the priest after his personnel files were reviewed in 2015.  The priest died in 2017.

 

Information on what may have been contained in the report has only leaked out through Protestant news agency EPD and Catholic news agency KNA who both obtained copies of the court's decision in Haucke's case when it concluded.

 

During his testimony, Haucke told of being "downright dragged" by nuns to an apartment belonging to Rudolf Motzenbäcker once or twice a month where he was abused.  Motzenbäcker died in 1998.

 

Haucke also told of "sex parties" that were arranged every three or four months which several clergy members and even politicians would attend, be served drinks and snacks by the nuns, and sexually abuse children.

 

"The nuns were pimps." They "earned money from it," Haucke said. "The men who were present would have donated generously."

 

He told of meeting a 12-year-old girl at one of those parties.  As a result of the abuse, she became pregnant and he testified that he had tried to help her.  When they went to police, he told them that they were accused of being liars.

The girl was said to have gone missing one day, but he later found her hanged in the attic.  Haucke did not believe it was suicide.

 

Throughout the entirety of his testimony, the court found him to be a credible witness and found no reason to doubt his account.

 

"Before I left in September 1972, I had been sexually abused about a thousand times. but what's the use of the money? My marriage is broken. My bones, liver and kidneys are too," Haucke said after he was awarded a total of 25,000 Euros.

 

The Daily Beast reports that the new report is scheduled to be released in March.

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