German Jesuits make abuse victims payout offer
Jesuit orders in Germany said Wednesday they have offered former students sexually abused in their schools payouts of 5,000 euros (6,832 dollars) each, a sum victims' groups had previously rejected.
A spokesman for the order in Munich said the Jesuits had sent the offer in letters and emails to the around 200 victims who had come forward, in which it was noted that the sum "could never compensate for the suffering incurred."
Recipients had attended Jesuit schools in Hamburg, Bonn, the Black Forest and Berlin, where revelations a year ago of sexual violence against students brought a scandal plaguing the Roman Catholic Church to Germany.
Jesuit orders had floated an offer of 5,000 euros last September but it was rejected out of hand by a prominent victims' organisation, Eckiger Tisch (Square Table).
The group said a sliding scale ranging from 20,000 to 120,000 euros based on the severity of the case or a one-off payment of 54,000 euros would be more suitable.
The spokesman in Munich, Thomas Busch, said such sums were "unrealistic" but acknowledged that the offer currently on the table was unlikely to satisfy those molested by Jesuit priests and teachers.
He added that the payout would not be made for another two to three months while the Jesuits sought a comprehensive offer with other Roman Catholic institutions.
The German Bishops Conference has not yet taken a decision on the matter.
Germany has faced revelations over the past year that hundreds of children were physically and sexually abused in institutions throughout the country, all but a handful run by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church in Germany has said it failed to investigate properly claims of abuse and that in some cases there was a cover-up, with paedophile priests simply moved elsewhere instead of being disciplined and reported to the police.
It has also faced accusations of foot-dragging on reparations for victims, most of whom suffered their abuse several decades ago.
© 2011 AFP