For several years in the 1960s, starting when he was only 11, Karl Haucke says he was abused by a Catholic priest:
But the abuse was not just of a physical, sexual nature. The priest made him relate the stories during the weekly confession. “Confession includes penance. Depending on the abuser’s mood, he might say ‘I’ll come around to your bed tonight or tomorrow.’ Then it would start all over again.”
That trauma lasted with him for a lifetime and he eventually became a spokesperson for other victims of Catholic abuse. He was hopeful when Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the Archbishop of Cologne, promised an independent investigation into what occurred in his diocese — especially the part about how the report would be made public. But last year, the archdiocese told the victims the report would not be publicized because it wasn’t “legally watertight.” Haucke quit his victims’ committee post in protest.
He also filed a lawsuit.
Last month, when the report was completed, even reporters weren’t allowed to see it with without first signing confidentiality agreements — something several of them refused to do… because what’s the point? Why take part in the cover-up?
But Haucke’s lawsuit led to lawyers having access to that document, and its contents have now been leaked to news outlets like the Daily Beast, which are now highlighting the damning information inside:
The report is the byproduct of a lawsuit alleging that orphaned boys living in the boarding houses of the Order of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer were sold or loaned for weeks at a time to predatory priests and businessmen in a sick rape trade. The men involved in the lawsuit say as boys they were denied being adopted out or sent to foster families because selling them for rape lined the sisters’ coffers for their “convent of horrors.” Some of the boys were then groomed to be sex slaves to perverts, the report claims.
The alleged abuse went on for years, with one of the males claiming the nuns even frequently visited their college dorms after they had left the convent. He said the nuns often drugged him and delivered him to predators’ apartments.
… The report names various German businessmen and complicit clergy who “rented” the young boys from the nuns who ran a convent in Speyer, Germany between the 1960s and 1970s. Among the worst instances of abuse were gang bangs and orgies the young boys were forced to participate in before being returned to the convent where the nuns would then punish them for wrinkling their clothing or being covered in semen.
The report says there were 175 victims ages 14 and younger. Rather than blaming the nuns for facilitating the abuse, though, it points a finger at the system that allowed the abuse to occur. A redacted version of the report may come out in March.
Still, the contents were so graphic and disturbing, that those who have read it couldn’t handle it:
… Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesmann, who now leads the archdiocese, said that the abuse report was “so gory” it would be too shocking to make public. Wiesemann told the Catholic News Agency KNA that after reading it he had to take a month’s sabbatical to recover.
The fact that it’s so shocking is all the more reason to make it public. Hiding the horrors is what led to this problem in the first place. It shouldn’t matter that most of the alleged abusers are dead or that many of the victims have received compensation through a series of settlements. The Church needs to be exposed, period. The worse the crimes, the more urgent it becomes for world to know about them. Maybe that will be the push that some Catholics need to finally leave the criminal organization for good.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)