German Bishops Stop Inquiry of Child Abuse Due to 'Trust' Concerns with Commission

The Roman Catholic Church in Germany revealed that it has decided to stop an independent inquiry regarding the sexual abuse by clergy over "trust" concerns of those who were facilitating the inquiry.

The German Bishops Conference decided to end the inquiry conducted by Christian Pfeiffer, head of the Lower Saxony Criminological Research Institute, due to the fact that trust in Pfeiffer had been "destroyed," according to the BBC.

The Bishops had previously gone to Pfeiffer in 2011 after a number of accusations regarding the abuse of young boys by various members of the clergy, gained wide publicity in Germany as the Church's membership declined.

"The relationship of mutual trust between the bishops and the head of the institute has been destroyed," Stephan Ackermann, Bishop of Trier, said in a statement. "Trust is vital for such an extensive project dealing with such a sensitive issue."

There were reports of several hundred incidents of improper relations by some members of the clergy which occurred between the 1950s and 1980s.

One point of contention the Bishop's held with Pfeiffer was the fact that he made public accusations against the Church alleging church officials tried to censor his research and had continually interfered with the inquiry.

"We were meant to submit everything for approval," Pfeiffer told German national broadcaster ZDF during an interview.

Pfieffer revealed that he had acquired the services from retired prosecutors and judges to help with the inquiry. The team conducting the inquiry was also granted permission to look through the Church's records regarding some clergy's personal files as well as employee records dating back more than a decade, according to Deutsche Welle.

A Church spokesman did reveal that a new inquiry and research team would be commissioned when the appropriate candidate is selected.

"'The German Bishops' Conference is, however, still convinced of the need for a criminological investigation of sexual abuse of minors within the Church," according to a statement.