Stephan Ackermann has to dig deep into his pocket after he made public the real name of a diocese employee traumatized by abuse.
Trier Bishop Stephan Ackermann has been sentenced to pay 20,000 euros in damages to an employee of the Diocese of Trier who was traumatized by abuse.
It is undisputed that the bishop gave the real name of the woman known under the pseudonym Karin Weißenfels in a video conference in March 2022 with diocese employees, said judge Kathrin Thum at the Trier labor court. In doing so, Ackermann caused “a significant touch on the personal concerns” of the woman.
The verdict is not yet legally binding. The diocese of Trier already announced after the decision that the bishop and the diocese accepted the verdict. “Bishop Ackermann will pay the amount of money,” said a statement. On the part of the plaintiff, the lawyer said: “We are satisfied. We won completely.”
An amicable agreement in advance to settle the dispute had failed. The court had ordered the personal appearance of the bishop for the appointment. However, he did not appear and instead sent the diocesan lawyer with full powers of attorney. “This is a completely normal procedural process,” said the bishop’s lawyer, Christoph Legerlotz, in justification. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Oliver Stegmann, described the bishop’s non-appearance as “disappointing”.
The woman had stated in her lawsuit that she had been re-traumatized by Bishop Ackermann giving her real name. Ackermann then apologized to the woman and signed a cease-and-desist letter. The woman had been sexually exploited by her pastor for years as a church employee around 30 years ago. When she became pregnant, clergymen urged her to have an abortion.
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