AFTER reading a report about the sexual abuse suffered by orphans at boarding houses run by Germany’s Order of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer, Karl-Heinz Wiesemann, above, Catholic Bishop of Speyer, reportedly had to take a month’s sabbatical to recover from the shock.
According to this Daily Beast report, the investigation into the activities of nuns who rented out orphans – mainly boys – to paedophile priests, politicians and businessman in the 1960s and ’70s, led to a report that the church then attempted to quash.
The details of that investigative report were so horrific that Archbishop Reiner Maria Woelki, above, refused to make it public, demanding that any journalists who see it sign confidentiality agreements.
Eight German journalist stormed out of a press conference in January after being denied access to the church’s investigation unless they agreed not to publish its contents.
I first wrote of the investigation last December when it was revealed that its was sparked by 16 of “at least” 175 victims of the nuns.
They demanded the Archdiocese of Cologne carry out a full investigation, which concluded in January this year.
The report is the byproduct of a lawsuit alleging that orphaned boys living in accommodation provided by the nuns were sold or loaned for weeks at a time to paedophiles.
The men involved in the lawsuit say as boys they were denied being adopted out or sent to foster families because selling them for rape lined the sisters’ coffers for their “convent of horrors.”
Now, several lawyers with access to the 560-page report have shared segments with news outlets. The report names various German businessmen and complicit clergy who “rented” the young boys from the nuns who ran a convent in Speyer, Germany between the 1960s and 1970s.
Among the worst instances of abuse were gang bangs and orgies the young boys were forced to participate in before being returned to the convent where the nuns would then punish them for wrinkling their clothing or being covered in semen.
Wiesmann, who now leads the archdiocese, said that the abuse report was “so gory” it would be too shocking to make public.
The report finds that 175 people, mostly boys between the ages of 8 and 14, were abused over two decades. But it failed to blame the nuns directly, instead saying “systematic” management errors and “leniency” for those who were accused by the children enabled the abuse to continue.
Karl Haucke, 63, above, who led the victims’ group until he resigned over the censoring of the report, says Woelki told them last October that the report was not “legally watertight” and contained “inadmissible prejudices” against the Catholic Church that were fed by scandals going on elsewhere.
The lawsuit also sparked a survey within religious orders that found that 1,412 people who lived in or frequented convents, parishes, and monasteries were abused as children, teenagers, and wards by at least 654 monks, nuns, and other members of the orders.
Around 80 percent of the victims surveyed were male and 20 percent female. The survey also found that 80 percent of the abusers are now dead, and 37 had left the priesthood or religious order.
The Archdiocese of Cologne that the reason the report was not published was that it failed to fully explain the methodology of the research. Wiesmann, told the Catholic News Agency KNA that after reading it he had to take a month’s sabbatical to recover.
I too have limited energy for the burdens I have to carry.
The Daily Beast concluded:
The main abusers in the report are now dead and many of the victims have settled with the church for financial compensation, which has prohibited them from joining the lawsuit. The archdiocese now plans to publish a new revised, and undoubtedly heavily redacted, edition of the report in March.