Admin l Wednesday, January 25, 2023
BERLIN – Senior German Catholic Church clerics said on Wednesday they would not make use of the statute of limitation in a sex abuse scandal in a southern archdiocese but would answer the civil charges in court.
“The Munich and Freising archdiocese has submitted its response to the declaratory action charges in the legal case before the Traunstein district court in time and will not raise the objection of time limitation,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
The archdiocese was prepared to pay appropriate compensation in acknowledgement of the suffering of the plaintiff and to find an appropriate solution to additional compensation for damage, it added in expressing “deep regret” at the suffering caused to the plaintiff and other victims of abuse.
The case concerns a man allegedly abused by a repeat offender, a priest identified by the initial H under German privacy laws, in Garching an der Alz to the east of Munich. He has cited four defendants: the alleged offender, the archdiocese and two former archbishops, the cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Friedrich Wetter.
Ratzinger, who died last month, is better known as the late pope Benedict XVI. Wetter was his successor as archbishop.
The aim of the case is to establish whether the archdiocese covered up the priest’s crimes and so facilitated further criminal acts. The offender is at the centre of a report published last year into sexual abuse in the archdiocese.
He was transferred from North Rhine Westphalia in western Germany to Bavaria in the 1980s, despite allegations of abuse against him. Even after he was found guilty in court of sexual abuse following further criminal acts in Grafing near Munich, he was transferred again, this time to Garching an der Alz.
No one there know of his past criminal behaviour, and he again abused children. The case against Ratzinger has been suspended pending the appointment of a legal successor following his death on New Year’s Eve, while that against the other three is proceeding. The court has proposed March 28 as a date for a hearing.