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CRIME

Merkel: paedophilia not just a Church problem

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said that sexual abuse of children was not solely a problem facing the Catholic Church in Germany, amid a snowballing scandal over paedophile priests.

Merkel: paedophilia not just a Church problem

“It makes no sense, even if the first cases (of abuse) are in the Catholic Church, to focus on one group. This is something that has happened in many areas of society,” Merkel said in a speech to parliament.

“And first and foremost it is also something that is still happening to this day, in part in different forms but with the same consequences.”

She said no-one should attempt to over-simplify a difficult matters testing all of society.

The German Catholic Church has been thrown into crisis in recent weeks as hundreds of people have come forward alleging they were abused as minors by priests between the 1950s and 1980s.

Accusations of abuse have now been made in around two-thirds of Germany’s 27 dioceses in recent weeks including in Munich and Freising, where Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was archbishop from 1977 to 1982.

Church officials suspended the priest named as Peter H. on Monday amid revelations he was still working with children 25 years after he was convicted of sexual abuse.

Another priest who had the job of overseeing the convicted paedophile resigned in response to the latest information was made public.

Priest Peter H. had violated the conditions of his employment by continuing to have contact with children and youths and had therefore been suspended from his duties “with immediate effect,” said Bernhard Kellner, spokesman for the diocese of Munich and Freising on Monday.

Peter H. was accused of sexually abusing boys in the Diocese of Essen in 1980, including forcing an 11-year-old to perform oral sex. Pope Benedict XVI, who was then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich and Freising, approved Peter H.’s transfer to Munich for therapy.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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