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German justice minister rips bishops over abuse study

January 11, 2013

Germany’s justice minister has strongly criticized the German bishops’ recent decision to withdraw their support from an independent inquiry into sex-abuse complaints.

“It appears that conducting an independent, serious study into the abuse cases, as originally intended, is impossible for the Church,” said Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. “This is a shame, as it gives the impression that ultimately they did not want everything to be independently studied.”

In 2011 the Germany hierarchy commissioned a study by Christian Pfeiffer of the Lower Saxony Criminological Research Institute. After a series of disagreements about the handling of information, the bishops dropped their sponsorship.

“The mercurial Professor Pfeiffer saw things one way one morning and then had totally different ideas the next day,” said Matthias Kopp, spokesman for the bishops’ conference. “That was rather exhausting on such a project.”


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