Berlin, Sep 13 (IANS) A new report from Germany’s Catholic Church admits to “at least” 3,766 cases of child sex abuse by the clergy between 1946 and 2014, according to media outlets Die Zeit and Spiegel Online.
The report — commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference and conducted by the Universities of Giessen, Heidelberg and Mannheim — has taken four years to assemble and will be released in full on September 25, CNN reported .
The outlets said on Wednesday that the study has revealed that the victims were mostly boys, more than half of whom were aged 13 or younger. Every sixth case involved a rape and at least 1,670 clergy were involved, the report also reveals.
“We know the extent of the sexual abuse that has been demonstrated by the study. We are dismayed and ashamed by it,” Bishop Stephan Ackermann told CNN.
Ackermann said in the statement that the aim of the study was to “gain more clarity and transparency about this dark side of our church, for the sake of those affected, but also to see for ourselves the wrongdoings and to ensure this cannot be repeated”.
“It is about a responsible and professional investigation. I am convinced that the study is a comprehensive and thorough survey that provides figures and analysis from which we will continue to learn… The study is a measure that we owe not only to the Church, but above all, and first and foremost, to those affected,” he added.
The German Bishops’ Conference will initiate a hotline for the public to call a day before the scheduled publication later this month.
Also on Wednesday, Pope Francis called for an extraordinary meeting of top Catholic officials to discuss the escalating abuse scandal that has made headlines in recent weeks, CNN said.
Francis will meet the presidents of the Catholic bishops conferences from around the world in the Vatican from February 21-24, according to a Vatican statement on Wednesday.
The pontiff has faced mounting criticism over his handling of historic clerical sex abuse allegations.