• 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
July asylum applications hit 'all-time record'
An asylum seeker reception centre in Trier. Photo: DPA

July asylum applications hit 'all-time record'

More people applied for asylum in Germany in July than in any previous month on record, the Ministry for Immigration and Refugees announced on Friday. READ  

This Week in History
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after WWII
Germans fleeing from eastern Europe after the Second World War. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The 1,000s of Germans massacred after WWII

Seventy years ago on Friday, a munitions depot exploded in the Czechoslovakian town of Ústí nad Labem. For the thousands of Sudeten Germans who lived in the town, the event was a death sentence. READ  

Minister seeks to rid laws of 'Nazi language'
In the center, Nazi lawyer Roland Freisler, who wrote laws that are partially still in existence today. Photo: German Federal Archive / Wikimedia Commons.

Minister seeks to rid laws of 'Nazi language'

Germany has made great efforts to purge legal system of remnants of Adolf Hitler's regime, but some laws still bear traces of the Nazi past. The Justice Minister wants to change this. READ  

Treason investigation of Netzpolitik halted
Netzpolitik published documents outlining the internal spy agency BfV's spy programmes and budget. Photo: DPA

Treason investigation of Netzpolitik halted

Update: Federal prosecutors announced on Friday they are suspending investigations of treason against 'digital rights' website Netzpolitik for 'the greater good' of upholding freedom of the press. READ  

Newborn baby found in Munich airport toilets
Munich Airport. Photo: DPA

Newborn baby found in Munich airport toilets

A newborn baby was found in a toilet in Munich airport on Thursday. Police so far have no clue as to who or where the mother is. READ  

Brit arrested in Munich for meth smuggling
Photo: BVZ/Zoll

Brit arrested in Munich for meth smuggling

A 50-year-old British woman is being held in custody in Munich on suspicion of attempting to smuggle two kilos of crystal meth out of Munich airport disguised as sweets. READ  

Start-up helps new Berliners slash red tape
Hate waiting in line at the Bürgeramt? There's a company that lets you pay to get the perfect appointment. Photo: DPA.

Start-up helps new Berliners slash red tape

Why waste time jumping through the hoops of German bureaucracy when you can pay someone else to take the hassle off your hands? A new Berlin company is offering to do just that - and it's got city officials fuming in the process. READ  

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it
A fan visits the makeshift Michael Jackson memorial in Munich. Photo: DPA.

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it

A memorial set up in Germany by some of Michael Jackson's most ardent fans the day after his sudden 2009 death has come under threat in a strangely emotional turf war. READ  

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei arrived at Munich airport on Thursday, greeted by his son and son's mother, filmmaker Wang Fen. Photo: DPA.

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei arrived in Munich on Thursday on his first overseas trip since he was arrested nearly four years ago, after Britain denied him a six-month visa because he did not declare a supposed "criminal conviction" on his application. READ  

'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Regulations for women's parking spaces differ from state to state across Germany. Photo: JG-NF / Wikimedia Commons.

'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?

Frankfurt Airport is one of many places in Germany to offer women their own 'bigger and nicer' parking areas. Is this sensible practice or plain sexist? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
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
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

7,287
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd