OAN’s Abril Elfi
6:30 PM – Thursday, January 25, 2024
A new report claims that there have been over 2,220 victims of sexual abuse who have reportedly been assaulted by church staff or church members in Germany.
According to an independent report released on Thursday, at least 2,225 victims have been sexually abused in the past few decades by 1,259 German church members or staff.
The data is derived from an examination of records and correspondence from churches based in Germany and Diakonie, a Lutheran diaconal relief and social welfare agency.
The authors did highlight that they were only able to examine disciplinary files and were unable to review the personnel files of every bishop, priest, or deacon in the church. According to their estimates, the actual number of sexual abusers could be much higher—the German news agency DPA reported.
Martin Wazlawik of Hannover University, who coordinated the study on sexualized violence in German churches, asserted that “it’s the tip of the tip of the iceberg.”
The study was funded by 3.6 million euros ($3.92 million) that one unnamed church commissioned in 2020 with the intention of examining abuse-of-power. The EKD, an umbrella organization made up of 20 regional churches, represents 19.2 million Christians in Germany.
The head of the German Protestant Church Council, EKD, sincerely apologized to the victims during the study’s presentation in Hannover.
“As an institution, we have also been guilty of countless crimes against countless people,” Hamburg Bishop Kirsten Fehrs said, adding that she was “deeply shocked” by the overall picture presented by the study. “Ever since I have been dealing with this topic, I have been sincerely shaken by the abysmal violence that has been inflicted on so many people in our church,” Fehrs said, adding that the church would accept the results of the study “with humility.”
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