Abuse trial in Cologne
Court raises further allegations against priests
2/16/2022, 6:54 p.m
A Catholic priest has been in court for sexually abusing children since November. The indictment has now been expanded to include 85 further allegations. Despite well-known rumors and allegations, the Archdiocese of Cologne is said to have enabled the 70-year-old to work alone with children.
The abuse charge against a Catholic priest before the Cologne Regional Court was expanded on Wednesday to include 85 allegations. 70 cases of these affect children, 15 adolescents. The children are about 21 serious cases of sexual abuse such as sexual intercourse. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the youngest abused girl was nine years old at the time of the crime. The allegations concern five additional victims. The alleged crimes took place between 2002 and 2018.
The 70-year-old has always known how to exploit a special relationship of dependency. For example, he abused a girl who was homesick at a holiday camp. In another case, he gave the impression of wanting to take care of the daughter of an alcoholic mother. As a hospital chaplain, he builds up a special bond of trust with a family. In one case, he made a “therapy agreement” with parents for their alleged irascible daughter.
The pastor has been on trial since November. He is accused of sexually abusing his nieces. During the trial, however, other victims came forward and testified, expanding the charge. Since attacks are said to have continued into 2019, the accused was arrested in the courtroom at the end of January due to the risk of repetition and transferred to a correctional facility after the hearing.
Not a word about suspicion
Although allegations and rumors against the pastor repeatedly came to those in charge of the Archdiocese of Cologne, he was repeatedly given the opportunity to be alone with children. The 70-year-old was first reported by his niece in 2010.
On Wednesday, the presiding judge, Christoph Kaufmann, read the letter from a senior pastor in whose area of responsibility the accused had written. When he took up his post, he was not informed by the Archdiocese of the suspicion that the priest was in the room, the pastor wrote in his letter to the judge. He is now following the progress of the process with dismay and wonders whether the accused also abused children from his area of responsibility. He was convinced that the church could prevent further actions by the accused.