Swiss Catholic Church appoints professors to investigate past sexual abuse and produce report



Leaders of the Swiss Roman Catholic Church have appointed University of Zurich history professors Monika Dommann and Marietta Maier to investigate the Church’s past sexual abuse and write a report.

Dommann and Maier will create a team in the coming weeks for the report, which will examine information from the mid-20th century to the present day. The Swiss Bishops’ Conference and two other organizations announced the project on Monday, according to the Associated Press. Details on the focus and goals of the report are expected to be released in March.

“Countless people have endured deep suffering related to sexual abuse in the context of the Roman Catholic Church,” the organizations said. “The work of scientific memory is first and foremost due to the victims, but it will also bear lessons for the future.”

In October alone, a two-year investigation into the French Roman Catholic Church found that at least 216,000 children were sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy between 1950 and 2020, The Economist reported. The acts were committed by 2,900 to 3,200 members of the clergy. Incidents involving abusers who participated in church activities could bring the total number of children affected to 330,000.

In June, Pope Francis amended Roman Catholic Church law to specifically criminalize sexual abuse, recognizing that adults and children can become victims of priests, according to BBC News. The church has been surrounded by historic clergy sexual abuse findings in recent years.

This Swiss project will run for one year, giving researchers “free access to their files and archives where possible and authorized by canon law and state law”. The church also pledged to urge members and other groups to follow suit.

“To bring justice to the victims,” the groups said, they stressed a need for independence.

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

Monika Dommann and Marietta Maier will lead a report on the Swiss Roman Catholic Church which will investigate sexual abuse in the church from the mid-20th century. The investigation will run for a year, and details on the focus and focus of the report are expected to be announced in March. This 2020 photo shows the Basilica of Neuchâtel in Switzerland.
Frabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images

Any information obtained through the archives and files of Catholic groups can only be used within the framework of the project, and the University of Zurich – the official delegate of the project – has undertaken to keep secret any information not included in the project. the final report. The university noted its obligation under Swiss law to report any wrongdoing it may find.

The project puts Switzerland on track to join Roman Catholic churches in other European countries, including France, Germany and Portugal, to probe their stories of sexual abuse. It follows major investigations into abuse by churches in places like Australia, Britain and Ireland.

Together with the Bishops’ Conference, the project is led by KOVOS, an umbrella organization of Catholic orders and groups in Switzerland, and the Roman Catholic Central Conference, or RKZ, which brings together ecclesiastical organizations from the cantons or regions of Switzerland.

Roman Catholic Church, Sexual Abuse Report, Findings
Leaders of the Swiss Roman Catholic Church have appointed two history professors from the University of Zurich to lead a report on the Church’s past sexual abuse. In this photo, a man lights candles in the Basilica of Neuchâtel on May 3, 2020.
Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images



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