Leaked report finds another Catholic Church mass abuse cover-up in Germany

A new report detailing sexual abuse in Germany's Catholic Church has leaked this week prior to a scheduled meeting at the Vatican between the Pope and US Bishops.

The new German report, commissioned by the Catholic Church itself, found that over 3,000 people were sexually abused by members of the clergy in Germany for over six decades.

BBC writes that the report was due to be officially published on September 25, but was leaked early by German outlet Spiegel Online.

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The report found that 3,600 people, mainly boys under the age of 13, were sexually abused by Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014 in Germany.

One in six cases involved rape.

Only about 38% of alleged perpetrators faced disciplinary action for their offenses, but most only received minor repercussions.

The study was conducted by three German universities which analyzed 38,000 documents from 27 German dioceses. Authors of the report hypothesize that the actual scope of abuse may be far greater than what they found as some records were "destroyed or manipulated.”

Criminologist Christian Pfeiffer told The New York Times that “The report does not give the full picture, and is not fully independent.” Pfeiffer initially worked on the research but later chose to remove himself from the investigation.

The German report’s findings showed that most offending priests were shuffled from one parish to the next after allegations came to light, and no warning was provided to new parishes about the priest’s prior infractions.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann, spokesman for the German Bishops’ Conference who commissioned the report, said they are “dismayed and ashamed” by the report's findings.

Bishop Ackermann said the goal of the study was to shed light on "this dark side of our Church, for the sake of those affected, but also for us ourselves to see the errors and to do everything to prevent them from being repeated.”

"I stress that the study is a measure that we owe not only to the Church but first and foremost, to those affected," said Bishop Ackermann.

The German investigation is just another in a mounting pile of damning reports against the Catholic Church.

A recent investigation in Pennsylvania found that for over 70 years, bishops covered up for some 30 priests who abused more than 1000 youths.

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In West Virginia, Bishop Michael Bransfield resigned from his position amid abuse allegations. The Vatican has announced it would conduct an investigation into the Bishop.

On Thursday, the Vatican hosted a delegation of US Bishops to discuss the sexual abuse within the Church.

In attendance at Thursday’s Vatican meeting was Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who serves as president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

"We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States -- how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse. He listened very deeply from the heart. It was a lengthy, fruitful, and good exchange," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, following Thursday’s Vatican meetings.

CNN reports that no new steps or policies were announced after Thursday’s Vatican meeting.

On Wednesday, the same day the German report leaked, the Pope called upon worldwide top Catholic officials for a February meeting to further to discuss the widening sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis met this week with US Bishops as new reports emerged of more widespread sexual abuse in the ChurchAFP