Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A German priest admits molesting three children over the years

A Catholic priest in the city of Salzgitter Germanic has admitted sexually abusing three minors for years, said today the Prosecutor of Braunschweig in the state of Lower Saxony (north), which is now investigating if more victims . In late June, the mother of one child, at the beginning of the abuse in 2004 was 10, reported the priest, arrested last Saturday shortly before leaving for a few colonies.

Two other victims today confirmed the priest's statements to the effect that he abused them from 2004 and 2007, respectively, for about two years. Meanwhile, police in Braunschweig cited "numerous cases" committed "regularly." Prosecutors said the priest, 46, is in frequent contact with children, for example in the catechism classes for First Communion.

Last Friday, the investigation was seized at the home of a computer and religious documents to establish whether there is evidence of contact with other children. The prosecution did not say whether between objects is also seized child pornography. Meanwhile, the religious, who remains in custody at the risk of relapse, was suspended today by the bishop.

According to the suffragan bishop of Hildesheim, Heinz-Günter Bongartz, the ecclesiastical investigation will determine whether the priest should leave the priesthood permanently. "I want to make it very clear that first of all I'm thinking of the victims," he said. The bishopric of Hildesheim, who said he was "surprised and afflicted," acknowledged a year ago the priest was accused of "excessive assumptions about third person," but the prosecution did not find sufficient evidence.

Moreover, the prosecution stated that the death of a young man who shot himself in the apartment of the priest in 2007 has no connection with allegations of sexual abuse. This new case of sexual violence coincides with the announcement last week of the Catholic Church for their willingness to first open its archives to independent experts to investigate cases of abuse in their facilities since 1945 and shed light on this "dark chapter".

For this, the experts will study the files and talk to victims and oppressors in order to clarify under what circumstances the sexual abuse took place and how the church responded to them. "We want to know even more for the prevention," said the Bishop of Trier and commissioned to issues of abuse, Stephan Ackermann.

The first results of studies to be conducted by the Institute of Criminology of Lower Saxony and the Institute of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Essen-Duisburg, will be announced in about a year.

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