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Cardinal Reinhard Marx and Bishop Stephan Ackermann present the results of the study on sexual abuse of minors by Germany's Catholic priests and clerics on Tuesday in Fulda, Germany.
A report on clerical sexual abuse in Germany released Tuesday found thousands of cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics in the Catholic Church between 1946 and 2014 — and warns that the actual number is surely higher.
Study - Sets - Personnel - Records - Country
The study looked at more than 38,000 sets of personnel records from the country's dioceses, as well as criminal records and interviews with those who say they were abused and clerics accused of abuse.
It found documentation of abuse of 3,677 minors by 1,670 clerics — 4.4 percent of all clerics whose personnel records were reviewed. Among diocesan priests, that figure was 5.1 percent.
Report - Bishops - Conference - Research - Consortium
The report was commissioned by the German Bishops Conference and was carried out by a research consortium of universities in Giessen, Heidelberg and Mannheim. But the universities did not have access to the church's original files; instead, staff from the dioceses (or their lawyers) would review church archives and computer files, and then fill out questionnaires that were subsequently sent back to the consortium. The report noted that some records relevant to the research had been destroyed or manipulated.
The study's aim was to determine the frequency of sexual abuse of minors by Germany's diocesan priests (such as parish priests), deacons, and priests within religious orders for which the bishops' conference is responsible — and to see which structures of the church might have played a role in that abuse.
Report - Half - Abuse - Abuse - Form
The report found that more than half of those abused were 13 or younger when the abuse first occurred. Abuse generally took the form of multiple occurrences against the same child or juvenile, rather than one-time incidents, with an average duration of abuse lasting...
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