German investigators have carried out a raid in the Archdiocese of Cologne as part of a perjury investigation into Cardinal Rainer Maria Welki.
The investigation is linked to media reports of sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church.
The Cologne prosecutor’s office confirmed that about 30 police officers had searched six locations, including Mr Welki’s residence and the IT center responsible for processing the church’s e-mails.
The prosecution said in a statement that the investigation was proceeding smoothly and that it received a great deal of cooperation from the relevant sites.
The prosecution also stressed that the charges against Wolkie do not imply that he was actively or passively involved in covering up or complicit in any abuses.
Cologne public prosecutor Ulf Willune told reporters: “In terms of content, the main issue in each case is whether Cardinal Welki had any knowledge of the alleged abuses of the two clergymen, and if so, whether. If so, at what point specifically?”
The 66-year-old Cardinal Welki is one of many who have come under fire for handling a wide range of child sexual abuse cases involving clerics, including allegations that he helped cover up abuse by two Düsseldorf priests. is already dead.
The Cologne Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Welki last month following a criminal complaint filed by a civilian.
Allegations of perjury stem from Verki’s testimony at a media rights hearing against Bild in late March. In his testimony, Wolke claimed he had never read the two documents about the priest accused of abuse and denied knowledge of their contents.
However, in a letter he sent to the Vatican in 2018, he allegedly referred to information contained in documents detailing sexual misconduct by priests against young people.
Visit to the Vatican by Order of the Pope
Under German law, perjury carries a maximum prison term of 15 years and a minimum of 1 year.
Germany’s criminal justice system has recently taken an aggressive stance in prosecuting crimes related to the sex abuse scandals that have plagued the Roman Catholic Church for decades.
In a potentially landmark case, a German court earlier this month ordered the Archdiocese of Cologne to pay €300,000 ($328,000) in damages to a victim of repeated sexual abuse by a priest. ordered.
Previously, the German church had made “voluntary” payments to victims totaling around €40 million.
A 2018 study commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference revealed that between 1946 and 2014, 1,670 clergymen had committed some form of sexual assault against 3,677 minors. .
Officials believe the actual number of victims may be much higher.
Pope Francis has ordered an apostolic visit to the Archdiocese of Cologne in 2021, in response to a damning report on child sexual abuse involving an investigation into potential errors by Velki.
The visit aims to investigate the treatment of abuse cases within the parish.
After the raid, canon law expert Thomas Schuler of the University of Münster told the Rhine Post newspaper: “It is up to Velki himself to decide whether to pull the ripcord or not.”
“However, his behavior so far shows that he is clinging to the bishop’s chair and prioritizing his own personal well-being over that of the Archdiocese of Cologne,” Schuler said.
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https://cathnews.co.nz/2023/06/29/perjury-probe-archdiocese-of-cologne/ Perjury investigation – Archdiocese of Cologne raids