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German church, outside expert fall out over project to research past sexual abuse of children

Germany's Roman Catholic Church has fallen out with a prominent outside expert who was tasked with researching sexual abuse by clergy dating back decades.

The church in 2011 tasked Prof. Christian Pfeiffer's Lower Saxony Criminological Research Institute with analyzing data on abuse from German dioceses as far back as 1945. It was part of efforts to address the scandal triggered by revelations in 2010 of abuse in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI's homeland, and elsewhere.

But the German Bishops Conference said Wednesday that "mutual trust is shattered" between the bishops and Pfeiffer and it was terminating its agreement with the institute. It said it would seek a new partner for the project.

Pfeiffer told ZDF television some in the church wanted pre-publication checks on the researchers' work, which he called unacceptable.