A victim who was sexually abused by a priest on multiple occasions throughout the 1970s was awarded 300,000 euros in damages by a court in Germany on Tuesday. The victim was the archdiocese of Cologne.
According to a spokesman for the Cologne regional court, the plaintiff, who is 62 years old and claims he was abused more than 300 times by a Roman Catholic priest, has asked for approximately 750,000 euros ($809,000).
She stated that the archdiocese did not contest the allegations of abuse in court, which means that the judges made their decision based on the assumption that the allegations were accurate.
She also stated that the decision made by church authorities to not apply a statute of limitations in the case might potentially set a new precedent for people who were abused by clergy.
According to the spokeswoman for the archdiocese, the judge ordered the archdiocese “to pay 300,000 euros for pain and suffering to the victim, minus a previous payment of 25,000 euros” given by the archdiocese as part of a wider settlement.
In addition, the judge ordered that the plaintiff be compensated for any future expenditures that may be related to the abuse, such as the price of seeing a therapist to repair the psychological scars that were caused by the assault.
In recent years, a flood of reports have uncovered rampant sexual abuse of children and young people committed by pastors, which has shaken the foundations of the Catholic Church in Germany.
A study that was conducted in 2018 that was commissioned by the German Bishops Conference found that 1,670 pastors in the country were responsible for some sort of sexual assault committed against 3,677 kids between the years 1946 and 2014.
On the other hand, it is believed that the actual number of victims is substantially greater.
A report on the Cologne diocese that was issued in 2021 and contained 800 pages indicated that between 1975 and 2018, there were 202 alleged perpetrators of sexual assault and 314 victims of such assault. More over half of the victims were under the age of 14 when they were killed.
As an expression of sympathy and recognition for the victims’ anguish, the Catholic Church in Germany has, up to this point, paid “voluntary” compensation to sufferers totaling approximately 40 million euros.
Payouts made by the church to victims of abuse in Germany have been increased to up to 50,000 euros in 2020, up from approximately 5,000 euros in previous years; however, critics believe that the sum is still insufficient.
Just in the previous year, payments of around 28 million euros were authorized.