Over 500 boys abused at German choir school

MUNICH • More than 500 boys at a world-famous Catholic choir school in Germany suffered sexual or physical abuse in what victims have likened to "prison, hell or a concentration camp", said a report on one of the country's worst such scandals.

Many of the 547 victims remembered their time at the Regensburger Domspatzen boarding school in the Bavarian town of Regensburg as "the worst time of their lives, marked by fear, violence and helplessness", said lawyer Ulrich Weber on Tuesday.

He was commissioned two years ago by the diocese to probe the cases.

Mr Weber's report criticised senior church figures - among them former choirmaster Georg Ratzinger, 93, the elder brother of former pope Benedict XVI - for failing to do enough to prevent the abuses.

He also criticised foot-dragging in clearing up the scandal by Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, 69, the former bishop of Regensburg.

Mr Weber said he uncovered 67 cases of sexual abuse and 500 cases of physical violence, with some boys having fallen victim to both, between 1945 and the early 1990s.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Over 500 boys abused at German choir school'. Print Edition | Subscribe