German bishop refuses to resign after harsh abuse report


Central Europe


Bishop Stephan Ackermann. Photo Wikimedia Commons

Recently, a German report showed that the number of abuse victims over the past few decades in the diocese of Trier is higher than expected. However, Stephan Ackermann, the Roman Catholic bishop responsible for the diocese, refuses to resign.

A report showed that 513 people had become victims of sexual abuse between 1946 and 2021. Many of them could be identified by name. Of the victims, 162 were female, and 311 were male. Furthermore, 195 suspects were identified. These numbers are much higher than a study from 2018 showed. That research spoke about 442 victims, and 148 suspects Katholisch.de reported.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann is now accused of knowing about the high number of abuse victims but having covered it up. The report reads: "At least in a large number of cases, the diocese did not take any measures to protect those potentially affected from sexual abuse."

In reaction to the report's publication, bishop Stephan Ackermann publicly questioned the independence of the commission that published the report.

Now, he refuses to resign, Katholisch.de writes. He says that he does not see any indications in the report that he did not take his responsibilities as a bishop. On the contrary, he argues that he is convinced "that as a bishop and as the abuse officer of the bishops' conference", he has been able to "help achieve improvements on the issue of processing, on the issue of prevention."

Even the mayor of Saarbrücken, the municipality to which Trier belongs, called Ackermann to step down. However, the bishop said to be surprised by this request. He said he would have preferred a one-on-one conversation with the CDU politician first.



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