March 19th, 2010
01:19 PM ET

Doctor: Church ignored warnings about molester

The archdiocese headed by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - who is now the pope - ignored warnings in the 1980s to keep a molester in its ranks away from children, the doctor who issued those warnings said Friday.

Werner Huth, a psychoanalyst, told CNN that he specifically demanded the priest never be allowed to interact with kids again. But instead, Huth said, the church allowed the priest to return to work and even deal with children.

In 1986, the priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann, was convicted of abusing minors. He was sentenced to 18 months incarceration, which under German law he was able to serve on probation without going to jail. He also paid a fine of 4000 deutschmarks (about $2000 at the time).

Afterward, he resumed work in the church and continued to work with children.

Hullermann was suspended last week as information about his past came to light.

Huth, who says he regularly did psychoanalytical evaluations for the Catholic church, said he does not believe Pope Benedict XVI was ever aware that Hullermann had been returned to service. Huth said he warned other church officials about Hullerman's pedophilia many times.

Huth told CNN that Hullermann was in therapy at his practice from 1980 to 1992.

"I gave three preconditions for even taking him into therapy: that he stop drinking alcohol, that he find a friend who watches out for him and makes sure he sticks to the rules, and that he never in his life interacts with children again," Huth said.

The story of Hullermann comes amid a scandal at the Vatican.

Hundreds of alleged victims have come forward in Germany claiming priests abused them. Some allege the abuse was sexual, while others refer to physical violence such as slapping.

German Catholic bishops in the pope's home state of Bavaria expressed "deep shock and shame" Thursday at recent reports of abuse in their diocese.

In a statement issued at the spring conference of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the bishops announced new measures on how to win back trust and prevent similar abuse from happening in the future.

Meanwhile, deeply Catholic Ireland has been badly shaken by a government-backed report that found the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Catholic church authorities in Ireland covered up child abuse by priests from 1975 to 2004. Child sexual abuse was widespread then, the report found.

Pope Benedict XVI has signed a pastoral letter dealing with the scandal rocking the Catholic church in Ireland, a Vatican spokesman said Friday. The  contents of that letter have not been made public.

Filed under: Religion • Vatican • World
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Lawrence

    With everything about child sex abuse in the Catholic church doesn't say much for christianity. Faith??? In what? I would like to hear what is said in those catholic confession booths . . . How many priests or other church officias are there that haven't been caught yet?

    March 20, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lawrence

    Mary Ann: perhaps YOU didn't read the articles thoroughly. The cases coming to light from yore are Catholic that were abused years ago but were ashamed or afraid to come forward with it. In light of the abuse cases recently encouraged the older ones to do so. And you are right about one thing this is happening in other institutes as well but not revealed unless there are the brave ones that want the world to know what is what.

    The Catholic church doesn't hold a corner on this, but considering it is world wide and it is in the Catholic church is not a hatred for the Catholics but . . . If you care to check you will find it happening in the world of medical professionals as well and recently, very recently. A pediatrician was recently arrested and charged with over 400 counts of abuse of his young patients.

    I am not Catholic and I do not like the Catholic church for many reasons. YOU had better clear your own mind and get a look at reality.

    March 26, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lawrence

    While we are on the subject which you brought up, CNN didn't feret them–the older cases out, They came to CNN with the brreaking niews of Catholic church child abuse around the world. I assume you are Catholic and if this is so, you have a lot to learn about your church. I suggest you start with the time of The Early Church

    The first great change in Christian history was Christianity’s spread from Palestine to the rest of the Mediterranean world in the first few decades after Jesus’ death. Within a short time Christianity had adopted the language and philosophical vocabulary of the Greco-Roman world to express its message, and it also adopted some procedural and organizational practices of the Roman Empire. Nonetheless, the characteristically Christian figure of the bishop had clearly emerged by the middle of the 2nd century. The recognition of the church by Emperor Constantine the Great in 313 consolidated these developments and gave the church support in the great doctrinal controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries that determined orthodoxy. By the time of 5th-century pope Leo I, the bishop of Rome was claiming and to some extent was exercising a primacy of leadership over the other churches (see Papacy).

    there is much much much more and the history of the Catholic or Roman Catholic is not favorable from 313 to presnt day an growing worse with the rising of the sun.

    if you want, I can also present historical facts of rape, murder, hypocrasy, acts against human nature and mankid prerformed by your so called christian church, that includs the years of the inquisitions . . . you should read about that period especially.

    March 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lawrence

    With all of that in mind don't be a pot calling the kettle black.

    March 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Roy

    Surprise!!!??? Most of the world knows the Catholic church has never been nor ever will be a Christian institution, Think I,m kidding? Just wait shortly when the governments of the world give "the great harlot" her just dues: annihilation.

    April 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |