• Germany's news in English
 

Jesuit school sex abuse scandal spreads through Germany

Published: 02 Feb 2010 10:28 GMT+01:00

In addition to the 20 victims who have come forward at the Canisius College in Berlin, three from Hamburg and another two from the town of St. Blasien in the state of Baden-Württemberg have also said they were abused by the same two priests.

There are also indications from Church files that one of the perpetrators, identified as Wolfgang S., may have also sexually abused children in Chile and Spain up until 1990.

In a statement addressed to his victims over the weekend, the 65-year-old former sports teacher Wolfgang S., who left the order in 1992, said it was "a sad fact that I abused children and young people for years under pseudo-educational pretexts." He said there was "no excuse."

The confession follows revelations on Thursday that dozens of students had been abused in the top Berlin school in the 1970s and 1980s.

The school's headmaster Father Klaus Mertes sent a letter to some 600 former students at Canisius College who may have been victims of at least two priests on staff. “With deep shock and shame, I have learned of these horrific, not only isolated, but systematic violations that went on for years,” wrote Mertes, before adding that both priests left the school in the 1980s.

Wolfgang S., who currently lives in South America, claimed that he had informed his Jesuit superiors of his dark past in 1991. Jesuit provincial leader Dartmann said over the weekend that the order did know of his crimes, and has hired a lawyer "to ascertain what the Jesuits specifically knew at the time, and what steps were taken."

According to Dartmann, Wolfgang S. taught between 1975 and 1979 at the Canisius College before moving on to the Saint Ansgar School in Hamburg between 1979 and 1982. Then in 1982 he went the St. Blasien in the Black Forest and stayed until 1984 before moving on to Chile in 1985. He was also reportedly under psychiatric care while he served in Hamburg and St. Blasien.

The second suspect in the Canisius case, 69-year-old former religion teacher Peter R., taught religion at Canisius College between 1972 and 1981 in Berlin, before he moved on to Göttingen to work with youth between 1982 and 1989. He was suspended between 1989 and 1992, and then left the order in 1995. The church now has no contact with him, Dartmann said.

His files show several incidences of reported abuse beginning with an open letter in Canisius College in 1981 that criticised his sex education tactics, though there was no evidence of rape or sexual intercourse in his files, Dartmann said. There were no consequences from the letter, a fact that current Canisius College leader Mertes could not explain.

In 1982 Peter R. was injured in an apparent case of attempted murder, though it is unclear whether the event was related to abuse, Dartmann added.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:12 April 5, 2010 by homeboy
Why are there so many pedophiles in the RCC? Because that's where the children are. Why has this been allowed to go on for centuries? Because to be a truly good catholic, you have to lose all ability to think for your self. Personally I think that if you are so stupid as to believe the BULLS**T spewed out by a bunch of fat old men in dresses, you pretty much deserve what you get.
Today's headlines
Guardiola: Schweini must decide on future
Photo: DPA

Guardiola: Schweini must decide on future

UPDATE: Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola said Thursday that Bastian Schweinsteiger holds his future in his own hands amidst reports linking the Germany captain to Manchester United. READ  

Drug-driving trucker kills two police officers
The accident happened on the Autobahn near Dortmund. Photo: DPA

Drug-driving trucker kills two police officers

A truck driver crashed his vehicle into a stationary police car on the Autobahn in North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday, killing the two officers inside. READ  

Watchdog escapes breast implant fine
A breast augmentation operation in progress. Photo: DPA

Watchdog escapes breast implant fine

A French appeals court on Thursday found German safety standards body the Technische Überwachungsverein (TÜV) had "fulfilled its obligations" in certifying breast implants that were later found to be faulty and sparked a worldwide scare. READ  

Govt 'breaking promises' with new CO2 deal
The RWE brown coal plant in Niederaussem. Photo: DPA

Govt 'breaking promises' with new CO2 deal

Germany's governing coalition came to a major new agreement on carbon emissions on Wednesday evening. But the reported deal has left environmentalists feeling betrayed. READ  

Thais send kidnapper to face Munich justice
A photo used by police to track alleged kidnapper Mario S. Photo: DPA

Thais send kidnapper to face Munich justice

Thai authorities will deliver a man to Germany later this week to stand trial on accusations of kidnapping the wife of a Bavarian banker to finance his lavish lifestyle abroad. READ  

NSA spied on several German ministers: report
Photo: DPA

NSA spied on several German ministers: report

New documents released by WikiLeaks show that the United States did not just tap German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone but also eavesdropped on several ministers, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Wednesday. READ  

'Auschwitz bookkeeper' trial nears verdict
Oskar Groening, the 'bookkeeper of Auschwitz'. Photo: DPA

'Auschwitz bookkeeper' trial nears verdict

A former SS officer known as the "bookkeeper of Auschwitz" and a woman who survived the Nazi death camp delivered wrenching testimony in a courtroom on Wednesday as his historic trial neared a verdict. READ  

Assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
A photo of a Volkswagen assembly line, not related to the incident. Photo: DPA.

Assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen

A worker was setting up a robot at a Volkswagen factory when the machine grabbed him and pressed him against a metal slab, causing lethal injuries. READ  

Greece crisis
Greek offer 'no basis for discussion': Schäuble
Pro-EU Greeks demonstrate outside the Athens parliament on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Greek offer 'no basis for discussion': Schäuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Wednesday crisis-hit Greece was sending mixed signals in debt talks and called on its government to "clarify its position" before negotiations with creditors can resume. READ  

Weathermen issue snow alert in heatwave
Could this be July in North Rhine-Westphalia? Photo: DPA

Weathermen issue snow alert in heatwave

The German Weather Service (DWD) issued a weather warning for North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on Wednesday predicting 5 to 10 cm of snow and winds of up to 60 km/h. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Culture
What's top of the charts in June
Gallery
Germany's most beautiful cycle routes
Business & Money
The business case for Britain in the EU
Rhineland
Why farmers are free to pong up the countryside
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,949
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd