German diocese to pay victims of abuse up to €75,000

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The Catholic diocese of Augsburg on Tuesday agreed to pay victims of sexual and physical violence at the hands of Church members up to €75,000 ($84,000) each.

Bishop Bertram Meier said in a statement that it was time to “put the people concerned at ease,’’ adding: “It is my priority to send a clear signal and show that we are taking responsibility.’’

The decision came as a result of a unanimous decision taken by the German Bishops’ Conference.

Augbsurg is the second German diocese to make such an announcement.

It provides for one-off payments, which depending on the severity of the case amount to up to 25,000 euros.

A monthly support payment that will not exceed 75,000 euros in total is also possible.

The funds will not to come from tax money collected for the church.

The Augsburg diocese emphasized that only Holy See money will be used.

Also on Tuesday, German prosecutors charged a priest from the diocese of Wuerzburg with two counts of child sexual abuse.

Prosecutor Axel Weihpracht said the cases dated back about a decade and are based on statements from the alleged victims.

The priest, who has been barred from clerical duties pending the investigation, has declined to comment on the allegations.

According to a report commissioned by the church, which was released in September 2019, 1,670 priests  or 4.4 per cent of Catholic clerics  abused 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014 in Germany, Most of the victims were boys.

Following revelations of sexual abuse of children by priests around the world, German bishops last spring announced a reform process called the `synodal path’ that would examine topics including power structures, sexual morality, celibacy and role of women.(dpa/NAN)