German priest reported to police over sex abuse claims

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12 April 2010

By : dpa 

 Hamburg – Yet another German Catholic priest has been suspended and reported to police over long-ago sex-abuse allegations, a church spokesman said Monday in the port city of Hamburg.

 The priest, 67, was retired in March after a man said he had been sexually abused as a boy by the priest in Bremen in 1972 or 1973 and two women said he had sexually molested them as girls in the town of Lingen between 1976 and 1973.

 The Archdiocese of Hamburg asked police to check, although it is likely that any offences fall under the statute of limitations. Several other German priests are facing similar allegations amid a scandal that has shaken both North America and Europe.

 In southern Germany, a special investigator issued a 180-page report on brutal beatings and sexual molestation during more than four decades at a Catholic boarding school run by the Benedictine Order.

 The external inquiry, by lawyer Thomas Pfister, was ordered by the order and the Catholic archdiocese of Munich. It identified a “hard core” of 10 monks at Ettal Abbey who have been accused of brutality and also castigated the man who was abbot from 1973 to 2005.

Pfister said 100 ex-students laid complaints against a total of 15 men at the abbey, which is situated in the Alps.

Ettal, which demanded military-type endurance from pupils, has admitted that corporal punishment continued into the 1990s, though the state of Bavaria outlawed it in 1990. Most of the beatings and sexual molestation happened too long ago to prosecute.

Pfister said he was told the abbot once made a boy eat a live slug as a test of manliness during a hike in the mountains.

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