According to a leaked document, between 1946 and 2014 in Germany, 1,670 Catholic clerics and priests sexually abused 3,677 minors, mostly underage males.
The “strictly confidential” study ordered by the German Bishops Conference, and conducted by the Universities of Mannheim, Heidelberg and Giessen, was to be released and presented by Cardinal Gerhardt Marx on September 25th. The German news magazine Der Spiegel obtained a copy of the report and published it on their website.
The Bishop of Trier, Most Rev. Stephan Ackermann said the Church was aware of the extent of abuse demonstrated by the study’s results.
“It is depressing and shameful for us,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Der Spiegel said the study, which reviewed more than 38,000 files from 27 German dioceses, revealed that more than half of the alleged victims were aged 13 years or under when they were abused, and that 1 out of 6 of the instances constituted rape of some form
Bishop Ackermann also said that, while he regretted that the study had been leaked, he was convinced its survey was comprehensive and thorough.
“The study is a course of action which we owe not only to the Church, but above all and foremost to those affected,” Ackermann said.