They’re accused, as they were in the U.S., and as of this point I don’t believe any accusations in Germany have gone to trial though I am certain some will. Did priests, or did they not, abuse children, is precisely the issue and an accusation is not enough.
What is frustrating is to see the press pounce on this with the same vigor they pounced on the American church. Meanwhile, when the public school abuse scandal broke in the same year - implicating a much larger number of persons - there was almost no story there. The media weren’t interested and to many of us (myself included) it felt deliberately overzealous. Yes, by all means let the law go after those whom it can. Yes, let’s have reform. But please let’s not tear down all the good that the Chuch does and please let’s not destroy the credibility of innocent individuals on the sole basis of accusations.
The John Jay report, commissioned by the USCCB in 2004, found that about 10%
(10,600) of the roughly 109,000 priests serving in the time period had been accused, of which 30% had since died, 30% were cleared, and the remaining 40% of cases were turned over to law enforcement. A total of 1,021 priests were turned over to the police, who brought 384 to trial, convicting 252 of them. So about 3.5% of those priests accused who still alive were ultimately convicted. That’s a sparse success rate to spend public resources on litigating. I’d expect a similar rate in Germany unless the standards of evidence are substantially different.
This low rate also unfortunately means that it is difficult to press legitimate cases to trial, as well as difficult to affirmatively refute false accusations.
In old cases when decades have passed, it is nearly impossible to prove abuse took place by an acceptable standard of law. If it comes down to the word of a victim against an accused about something that took place a long time ago, what can be done?
Catholics are, in general, upset about this, often for distinct or even conflicting reasons. We’re upset that any of it happened at all in the first place. We’re upset to see suspected priests shuffled around, and we’re upset to see flimsy accusations push a good priest out of a role where he performed admirably. I think to call all of the accusations ‘slander and libel’ reflects as much frustration as to call all of the accusations truthful.
The press don’t help, mate. They’re like vultures looking for fresh blood. Many of us lost our faith in the media long ago.
Agreed, where it happened. I am encouraged by the reforms made going forward.
Does that mean it was him?
I’m sorry to hear that, and the guilt of your loss of faith will fall upon those who molested children and those who covered it up. It is better they never been born than to suffer what will come to them.