Matthias Katsch says he was 13 years old when a priest at his Jesuit school in Berlin first molested him. His grades suffered and the priest pushed him to have extra tutoring with his teaching colleague, another priest.
This man, Katsch says, stripped him naked in the school music room, bent him over the piano bench and beat him in a sadistic ritual that was repeated multiple times over the next year.
“I thought there might be more boys like me but I always thought I was the only one with a second abuser. It was a terrible shame for me,” says Katsch, now 55 and a campaigner seeking justice for victims of abuse in the Catholic Church.
“But I was shocked to find out that I was not the only one. There were many victims that experienced exactly the same grooming. That’s when I realized this was systematic.”
In 2010, Katsch went public with his story, triggering an outpouring of testimony from dozens, then hundreds of other survivors.
On Tuesday, the German Bishops’ Conference is releasing the results of its own report into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church over the past seven decades.
The numbers are staggering: “at least” 3,677 people have been abused at the hands of more than 1,600 priests and other members of the clergy. Read more