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Hamburg pastor probed for child porn

Prosecutors in Hamburg are investigating a Protestant pastor for suspicion of possessing child pornography and possibly abusing children, daily Die Welt reported on Tuesday.

Hamburg pastor probed for child porn
An archive picture totally unrelated to the case. Photo: DPA

The authorities stumbled upon the 47-year-old man from Alt-Rahlstedt while breaking up a child porn ring and they have already searched his apartment. After confiscating his computer they found a considerable amount of questionable material, according to the spokesman of the city’s state prosecutor Wilhelm Möllers.

He is also thought to have sent pictures of children at a church choir practice to another man with contacts to the pedophilia scene.

Perhaps even more worrying, the paper reported that the pastor is also being investigated for sexually abusing children. The local church has recently informed 200 parents of the case and children have already been questioned.

“The pastor has been suspended from his duties because he is suspected of committing a crime,” Thomas Kärst, a spokesman for the Northern Elbe Protestant-Lutheran Church, told Die Welt.

The pastor, who spent more than 10 years in Rahlstedt, reportedly has not had contact with his congregation for several months after church officials said he was suffering from “burnout syndrome.”

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CRIME

One injured in school shooting in Bremerhaven

One person was injured on Thursday when shots were fired in a school in the northern German city of Bremerhaven, police said, adding that they had arrested the suspected gunman.

One injured in school shooting in Bremerhaven

The shooting happened at the Lloyd Gymnasium school in the centre of Bremerhaven, a city on Germany’s North Sea coast, on Thursday morning. 

“The armed person has been arrested and is in police custody,” police said in a statement. The injured person was not a pupil, police said, adding that the person been taken to hospital.

“Students are in their classrooms with their teachers. The police have the situation on the ground under control,” the statement added.

Bremerhaven police tweeted that a large deployment was under way in the city centre and asked residents to avoid the Mayor-Martin-Donandt square and surrounding streets, in the vicinity of the Lloyd secondary school.

Local news site Nord24 said the person injured on Thursday was a woman who worked at the school.

They said a school pupil heard shots being fired and called the police. Pupils reportedly barricaded themselves in their classrooms.

Police launched a large-scale operation and cordoned off the area around the school while they carried out inquiries. 

Authorities set up a phone hotline for concerned parents. Many parents gathered in front of the school after being alerted by their children, local media reported. 

In a separate incident on Thursday, police in the eastern city of Leipzig said they had detained a 21-year-old student still at secondary school after being tipped off by Snapchat that he had posted pictures of himself with a gun and made unspecified threats.

The US social media platform alerted German authorities, prompting Leipzig police to take action.

 A police spokesman said that the 21-year-old did not pose a real threat, however, and only possessed an airsoft gun, a replica firearm that uses non-lethal, usually plastic, pellets.

‘Strict gun laws’

School shootings are relatively rare in Germany, a country with some of the strictest gun laws in Europe. But a recent spate has rattled the population.

Last week, investigators in Germany’s city of Essen said they foiled a school bomb assault, as they arrested a 16-year-old who is suspected to have been planning a “Nazi terror attack”.

Police in Essen stormed the teen’s room overnight, taking him into custody and uncovering 16 “pipe bombs”, as well as anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim material.

In January, an 18-year-old student opened fire in a lecture hall at Heidelberg University in southwestern Germany, killing a young woman and
injuring three others before fleeing the scene and turning the weapon on himself.

In 2009, a former pupil killed nine students, three teachers and three passers-by in a school shooting at Winnenden, in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. The gunman then killed himself.

In 2002, a 19-year-old former student, apparently in revenge for having been expelled, shot dead 16 people including 12 teachers and two students at a school in the central German city of Erfurt. He too then killed himself.

The Winnenden and Erfurt massacres were carried out with legal weapons and spurred Germany to tighten gun laws.

The country currently requires anyone under 25 to pass a psychiatric exam before applying for a gun licence.

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