A new study by the University of Münster clearly underscores one thing: the cases of abuse in the diocese are by no means isolated cases. The researchers prove decades of failure.

According to a study by the University of Münster, the number of accused priests and victims of abuse in the diocese of Münster is significantly higher than known.

From 1945 to 2020, there were nearly 200 clerics and 610 known child sexual abuse victims, according to a five-person team researching over two years. This affects 4.17 percent of priests. The number of unreported cases is considerably higher. The researchers assume 5000 to 6000 victims.

When the study was presented on Monday, the historian Thomas Großbölting contradicted the description given by Bishop Reinhard Lettmann, who died in 2008, and who spoke of individual cases. There have been cases of abuse across the board in all deaneries of the diocese and many would have known about it, said Großbölting and spoke of a cover-up.

The researchers were able to prove decades of failure in diocese leadership and the frustration of criminal prosecution in various cases. The researchers accuse the current Bishop Felix Genn of not having shown the necessary severity as a superior towards perpetrators in recent years if they had expressed remorse. After reading the study, Münster’s bishop will speak at a press conference on Friday.