Saturday, January 22, 2011

Diocese of Regensburg Wins Libel Case against the 'Spiegel'

The Spiegel may from now on may no longer maintain or awaken the impression that the Diocese of Regensburg desired to conceal cases of abuse and to criminally intend to make monetary payments.

Regensburg ( The Diocese of Regensburg has won a case against the news magazine "Spiegel".  According to the Bishop.  In the main the conflict concerned whether a damage claim could be considered hush money.  The Spiegel may no longer maintain this or give the impression that the Diocese of Regensburg  has concealed cases of abuse and did this with the criminal intent to make payments.  This decision came from the Federal Court of Hamburg on Friday.

Diocesan spokesman Clemens Neck said in an statement:  'The legal case was necessary because in all of Germany this was being described as concealing abuse.  For this reason authors are reproved as an example in the case of the Diocese of Regensburg and the article by Spiegel as well as other publications.  All documents -- like the writings of parents and their attorneys -- prove however unmistakeably that in no moment was any attempt made to effect anyone's silence.  This legal battle concerned the question if the Spiegel may have published an untruth.  It doesn't have this privilege. And it is good that this is so."

The Diocese published information about the case on Friday background information as well,  the following, an excerpt from the written meeting between the parents of the children concerned, the perpetrator and the Diocesan Ordinary on 30.06.1999.  The excerpt is the following words:  "Between the participants there is agreement that negative psychological consequences for the children concerned ... will be treated as possible, respectively, ameliorated through therapy.  In the considered interest of the children and the expressed desire of the parents that silence shall be respected".  And further: "Mr ... [name of the perpetrator omitted] is bound, to that which originated from the event of 31.3.1999, and where applicable, to compensate for material and immaterial damages.  He is bound also to pay the following damages..."

In another excerpt from the writing of the attorney of the family to the legal representative of the Diocesan Ordinary of 18.05.1999 is indicated: "1. The Episcopal Ordinary  expressly manifested that it will not stand in the way of an assessment for punishment against Mr. .....   The proceedings of 31.03.1999 could and should therefore, if the offended children and their parents desire, be brought before the responsible state authorities and completely revealed.  2. With a view to the well-being of the children, ...,  the husband and wife prescind from the possibility of a criminal complaint. This occurred from their own desire, not on the request or pressure of the Diocesan Ordinary.  The right of criminal complaint is expressly reserved..."

Translated from the German,

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