Traunstein abuse trial postponed again – Bavaria

The trial against the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising for compensation for pain and suffering for a person affected by abuse is further delayed. The Traunstein regional court has postponed the second day of the hearing again – to January 10, 2024. The reason was that an expert was unable to attend, the court announced on Wednesday.

The trial began on June 20th, the second day of the trial was originally planned for September 12th and was then postponed to November 2nd; now it has been postponed again.

The plaintiff, a former altar boy, will be heard on the date. The man claims that he was once sexually abused by a priest in Garching an der Alz in the mid-1990s. In the civil lawsuit he is demanding at least 300,000 euros in compensation from the archdiocese. At the start of the trial, the archdiocese generally accepted through its lawyer that the plaintiff was entitled to compensation, but did not commit to a specific amount.

The lawyer requested that the claim for pain and suffering be dismissed in the amount requested. Rather, the court should give its own assessment of a sum. In mid-July, the judges initially ordered a psychiatric report to be obtained. This is intended to discuss the question of “whether the act of abuse suffered by the plaintiff was the cause of the plaintiff’s mental disorder and his alcohol and drug addiction.” This report should also be discussed at the next trial date.

The case made national headlines primarily because the defendants originally included Pope Benedict XVI, who has since died. was. However, the proceedings against him were separated because after his death on New Year’s Eve it is still unclear who will be his legal successor and thus, to a certain extent, inherit the proceedings.

Ratzinger took part in a meeting in which the decision was made to install the suspected priest

As then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was Archbishop of Munich and Freising when the priest in question was transferred to his diocese. At the beginning of the trial, the Traunstein regional court saw Ratzinger’s complicity. He took part in a meeting in which it was decided that the priest, who was transferred from North Rhine-Westphalia because of suspected abuse, would be appointed to the archdiocese. That’s why he had “corresponding knowledge of the priest’s past life,” said presiding judge Elisabeth Nitzinger-Spann. And yet the man was then taken on “without any further restrictions or precautions” and continued to work in child and youth pastoral care. According to the court’s preliminary legal opinion, Ratzinger’s behavior also gives rise to a plaintiff’s claim for damages against the archdiocese.

Ratzinger’s participation in the meeting made headlines when the Munich abuse report was presented last year. The Pope Emeritus initially denied having taken part in the meeting, but then spoke of a mistake and admitted that he had been there. He said at the time that the allegations against Priest H., which led to his transfer to Bavaria, were not discussed at the meeting and denied having knowledge of them.

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