More than 60 German clerics have been accused of sexually abusing minors and adults between 2000 and 2010, Germany's Roman Catholic Church says. According to a study conducted by three German forensic centers for research, at least 66 priests had been charged with 576 cases of sexual abuse of mostly male victims during the ten-year period. The German Bishops' Conference released the report on Friday, saying that nearly three-quarters of the 265 alleged targets of sexual misconduct were male.
The study further revealed that most of the priests found guilty of sexually abusing minors were psychologically normal.The study was launched in April 2011 after hundreds of victims alleged that they had been sexually harassed as minors between the 1950s and 80s, creating a crisis for the church nearly two years ago. The priests contacted the victims through the church congregation, the report found out. Over the past years, large numbers of such scandals involving Roman priests have surfaced. The Pope has been accused of trying to cover up the scandals. Abuse allegations have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in Germany in recent years, making thousands of disenchanted Germans leave the Church over revelations of abuse. About 180,000 renounced their Catholicism in 2010, up 40 percent from 2009, due to the revelations of priests sexually abusing minors, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. MR/AZ/IS