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Germany sets up talks on child sex abuse


Germany

Germany sets up talks on child sex abuse

The German government has set up round table talks to tackle a wave of child sex abuse cases that have shocked the country.

Some 250 separate allegations have been made in recent weeks, including a number involving Catholic Church officials.

The talks open on April 23 and will examine past cases and explore ways to prevent abuse.

One panel member, Education Minister Annette Schavan, said that the body had been set up in the interest of victims.

But Bernhard Rasche, who was abused as a boy at his Catholic boarding school in the 1970s, criticised the makeup of the panel, which is composed entirely of politicians.

“I have to say that the victims are nowhere to be seen at this talks. People who actually experienced what it is being discussed,” Rasche said in an interview.

Other panel members include Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and former family minister, Christine Bergmann.

Bergmann will serve as the ombudswoman for the victims.

In recent weeks, Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic Church have heavily criticised for their handling of a series of sex abuse scandals.

The 82-year-old German pontiff’s popularity in his homeland has since dropped sharply. Just 24 percent say they support him, compared to 38 percent in late January.

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