The Local de
22 February 2018
Thomas Maria B. in court in Deggendorf. Photo: DPA
A German former Catholic priest was on Thursday sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for more than 100 cases of child sexual abuse and other offences.
The 53-year-old will undergo years of therapy in a closed psychiatric institution before starting his prison term, a court in the southeastern city of Deggendorf ruled.
Whether he will ever be released depends on whether he is still deemed a threat to society, said chief justice Thomas Trautwein.
Previously named in media reports as Thomas Maria B., the former priest had previously been jailed from 2003 to 2009 for other sexual crimes.
He later obtained new church qualification papers to work as a priest using forged documents.
In his latest trial, he was found guilty of sexually abusing five boys in 108 cases since the 1990s.
He was also convicted of the attempted rape of an 18-year-old girl, as well as assault and possession of child pornography.
The abuses were committed around the German cities of Mainz and Deggendorf as well as in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Poland, the court was told.
Catholic ex-priest refuses to speak at sexual abuse trial in Germany
It’s the second court session in which the 53-year-old declined to speak. He faces sexual abuse and other charges. He was expelled from the priesthood in 2008 but continued to pose as a cleric.
DW (Deutsche Welle)
09 January 2018
A 53-year-old former priest is currently on trial in a district court in the Bavarian city of Deggendorf. Thomas Maria B., who was born in Wuppertal, is accused of having sexually abused five German boys under the age of 14 a total of 110 times between 1997 and 2016. The man is also accused of the attempted rape of an 18-year-old in Austria. The attorney defending the former Catholic priest has said that the man “feels incapable” of testifying before the court. He also refused to address the court in December.
Mentally disturbed defendant
Public prosecutors in Deggendorf have said that the defendant is mentally disturbed and thus cannot be held entirely responsible for his actions. Nevertheless, they see a threat that he could repeat such offenses again in the future. They are therefore calling for the man to be permanently committed to a psychiatric institution. He was previously imprisoned between 2003 and 2009 for the rape and abuse of two young girls.
Entered priesthood with fraudulent documents
After completing studies in theology, the man was ordained a priest in Poland in 1994. State prosecutors accuse the man of having used fake documents to fraudulently gain access to the priesthood. A church court in the German archdiocese of Freiburg removed the man from the priesthood in 2008, which officially forbade him from carrying out priestly work. That decision was upheld by another church court in Munich in 2012.
Won trust with fake ID
The man is accused of continuing, illegally, to present himself as a priest after his expulsion, dressing as such and using a fake identity card. He continued to hold religious services and collections; prosecutors alleged he illegally earned at least €100,000 ($120,000). It is reported that Thomas Maria B. won the trust of especially devout families, allowing him to abuse their children on pilgrimages as well as in their homes, as he also sometimes lived with the families. Moreover, he allegedly misused the seal of confession with the children to keep them from telling their parents about the abuse.
Although the man is not expected to testify as the trial moves forward, witnesses were scheduled to begin testifying on Tuesday.
js/msh (dpa, KNA)
DW follows German privacy standards by identifying the accused only by forename and first letter of the surname.