German prosecutors not pressing charges in Catholic Church abuse scandal

German prosecutors not pressing charges in Catholic Church abuse scandal

Abuse report on German archdioceses of Munich, Freising remains without legal consequences for perpetrators

BERLIN (AA) – The Munich I public prosecutor's office said on Tuesday that it has closed its investigations based on the abuse report on the German archdioceses of Munich and Freising.

In each case, the investigations had not yielded sufficient suspicion of criminal conduct on the part of the personnel managers, the public prosecutor's office announced at a news conference in Munich.

According to the public prosecutor's office, among those accused at times was also the late ex-Pope Benedict XVI, who was archbishop in Munich from 1977 to 1982.

Forty-five cases had been handed over to the public prosecutor's office by the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, which had prepared the abuse report for the archdiocese.

In 39 of them, the authority found no starting point for further investigations in a preliminary examination procedure, as prosecutor Angela Michielsen said.

Six cases in which perpetrators of abuse had continued to be employed in pastoral care and there were indications of renewed and not yet statute-barred offenses had been investigated in separate preliminary proceedings.

The public prosecutor emphasized that in no case had there been any indications that the church personnel officers themselves had committed abuse. Rather, there had been "aiding and abetting" by personnel decisions.

As at the news conference, Hans Kornprobs, the chief public prosecutor, rejected accusations that the judiciary was treating the church with kid gloves.

No prosecutor in his office has "inhibitions about investigating a clergyman or other member of the church," Kornprobs said. The church has no special rights under criminal law, he added.

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