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Bishop Mixa accused of abusing children

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Photo: DPA
11:17 CEST+02:00
Five people have accused Germany's controversial Catholic Bishop Walter Mixa of physically abusing them while they were at a children's home north of Munich in the 1970s and 1980s.

Three women and two men claimed that Mixa hit them on multiple occasions while they were at the St. Josef children's home in Schrobenhausen, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Wednesday, citing statements declared under oath by the alleged victims.

Their descriptions of the abuse include slaps to the face, punches to their upper arms, and spankings with a carpet beater, the paper said.

But the Augsburg diocese called the accusations “absurd, untrue, and obviously invented to defame the bishop.”

Mixa, who recently made headlines for blaming the German Catholic Church's child sex abuse scandal on the sexual revolution, was the Schrobenhausen parish leader between 1975 and 1996. He frequently visited the St. Josef's children's home and disciplined the children for their bad behaviour, said the former residents, who are now between the ages of 41 and 47.

Nuns of the Mallersdorf order who worked at the institution also hit the children with “wooden brooms, wooden shoes, and clothing hangers,” the paper reported.

The order said it would undertake an open investigation into the accusations.

Germany's Catholic Church has been embroiled in a crisis over recent weeks as victims of widespread sexual and physical abuse continue to come forward. Most cases date back by several years, a fact that has politicians debating a possible extension to the statute of limitations on such crimes.

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Similar accusations have also surfaced in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, while Ireland has been rocked by revelations about cover-up efforts by the head of the Church there in the 1970s.

The Vatican has said it received 3,000 reports between 2001 and 2010 of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy committed over the past 50 years.

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