"The study on 'Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, deacons and male members of orders in the domain of the German Bishops’ Conference' makes it clear to us that the Catholic Church has by no means overcome the issue of dealing with the sexual abuse of minors. The study takes a deep look into the past," the cardinal said.
The study by universities of Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Giessen (MHG) was officially presented earlier on Tuesday at a press conference at the fall full assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference. It looked at personal files and references from 27 dioceses in the period between 1946 and 2014. A total of 3,677 "children and juveniles" were found to have been abused by 1,670 clerics.
The report showed that 51.6 percent of those affected by the abuse was of up to 13 years maximum at the time when they first were subjected to molestation, while 25.8 percent were aged 14 and older.
The study found that multiple acts against one individual were more frequent than one-off episodes.
The Church took action regarding 33.9 percent of the people accused of sexual abuse, while there were no proceedings launched for 53 percent of the abusers. The information on possible penalties was missing on some of the cases.