Diocese of Aachen: Abuse report before publication

The Catholic diocese of Aachen had the cases of sexual abuse by clergy in its area investigated by a law firm. The commissioned law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl announced on Tuesday in Munich that the results of the report would be presented at a press conference in Aachen in November. It is about the period from 1965 to 2019.

The object of the assignment was to identify systemic causes of sexual abuse by clerics and to examine responsibilities at the level of the diocese leadership with regard to dealing with cases of sexual abuse. In addition, it was a matter of “naming those responsible as far as possible” and suggesting optimization with regard to dealing with cases of sexual abuse.

The Archdiocese of Cologne has had a similar investigation for more than half a year, but it has not yet been published. Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki had justified this with legal concerns. The “responsible persons”, who are critically assessed in the report, are said to have threatened countermeasures.

The Munich law firm said it had been investigating the cases on behalf of the Aachen diocese since mid-2019. Bishop Helmut Hier and Vicar General Andreas Frick are not aware of either the report or extracts from it. You would hear the results at the press conference at the same time as they were published. This approach was agreed from the start. “It corresponded to the express wish of the bishop and the vicar general,” announced the office. Further information on the content or results will not be given at the moment.

Around one million Catholics live in the diocese of Aachen, the area stretches from the Eifel in the south to Mönchengladbach and Krefeld in the north. Other Catholic dioceses in North Rhine-Westphalia are Essen, Cologne, Paderborn and Münster.