Germany’s Attorney-General will investigate 42 sex abuse cases reported in the German Catholic Church, Belga news agency reports.
The criminal investigation follows a report by a German lawyers’ office pinpointing generalised sex abuses within the Archbishopric of Munich and Freising. According to a spokesperson of the Attorney-General’s Office, the lawyers’ office submitted 41 cases in August 2021 and another in November.
These are all complaints by Church staff who are still alive, the spokesman said.
Should the Church officials prove to have acted in a criminal manner, an investigation will be launched, the spokesperson said. Additional information would then be requested of the lawyers’ office that conducted the investigation.
An independent report presented on Thursday in Germany has severely faulted Benoit XVI, who resigned as pope in 2013, for his handling of sex abuses against minors in the Archbishopric of Munich and Freising, which he headed between 1977 and 1982.
According to the lawyers who contributed to the report, which was commissioned by the Church, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did nothing, before becoming pope, to remove four priests suspected of sex abuse against minors.
They also said cases of violence perpetrated on minors between 1945 and 2019 were systematically covered up “to protect the institution of the Church.”