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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, March 5, 2010
Abuse at Pope’s Brother’s Choir; Sex abuse victims respond
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)
Having spent decades in Germany, and considerable time in Bavaria, it’s hard to imagine that Pope Benedict knew nothing about what church officials now admit are the “hundreds” of boys allegedly beaten and sexually abused at three schools in Bavaria, including one with close ties to his brother. One of the predator priests was suspended just this month.
Just a few years ago, the Pope told Irish bishops “it is important to establish the truth of what happened” regarding clergy sex crimes and cover ups in that country. It looks, however, like the Pope is ignoring his own advice in his native land.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home)
Abuse At Pope's Brother's Choir, More German Schools - By REUTERS Published: March 5, 2010
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Roman Catholic Church revealed charges of priests beating and sexually abusing boys in at least three schools in Pope Benedict's native Bavaria on Friday, one linked to a renowned choir once led by his brother.
The charges at the cathedral choir in Regensburg, the Benedictine monastery school at Ettal and a Capucian school in Burghausen came to light after abuse cases revealed at Jesuit schools around the country shocked the country last month.
Rev Georg Ratzinger, 86, who led the choir from 1964 to 1994, told Bavarian Radio he knew nothing of any abuse at the "Regensburger Domspatzen" (Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows) choir, which regularly performs on tours in Germany and abroad.
The diocese of Regensburg, where the pope taught theology at the university from 1969 to 1977, said there were no current abuse cases and it would investigate all charges from the past.
"We want to fully answer the question about which abuse cases happened in Regensburg diocese. Who were the perpetrators and who were the victims?" said diocesan spokesman Clemens Neck at a news conference in the northern Bavarian city.
The diocese said in a statement that one priest had abused two boys sexually in 1958 and was sentenced to two years in jail. Another clergyman served 11 months in jail in 1971 for abuse. Both men have since died.
It said three men claimed to have suffered sexual abuse as well as beatings and humiliation in the early 1960s while at boarding schools connected to the choir. The diocese was investigating these cases and more could be revealed, it said.
Sexual abuse scandals, which haunted the Church in the United States over the last decade and bankrupt several dioceses, have rocked Ireland after two blunt government reports in recent months and come to light in the Netherlands this week.
PRIEST CONFESSES BRUTAL BEATINGS
In Ettal in southern Bavaria, a lawyer investigating charges of abuse in a Benedictine monastery school said hundreds of boys had been beaten and some sexually abused decades ago.
"Hundreds of pupils were beaten," Thomas Pfister told a news conference there. "There were very extreme cases of mishandling, which normally would have been punished with long prison sentences ... A cloak of silence was thrown over the charges."
One monk now dead had committed "serial sexual harassment and sexual abuse on small and older children," he said.
Rev Johannes Bauer, the monastery treasurer, admitted beating pupils while a teacher at the school in 1985-1987.
"To my shame, I have to say openly that I also brutally abused children physically and humiliated them," he said. "I am very sorry and ask forgiveness from the bottom of my heart."
The monastery has asked the Vatican to help it reform and take "a new spiritual direction." A Vatican official said the Holy See took this case seriously and would send an inspector.
ABUSER TRANSFERRED TO OTHER WORK
Also in southern Bavaria, the Capucian order said a former director of the Burghausen school had abused boys sexually in 1984-1985. The charges were investigated in 1991 but no action was taken because the statute of limitations had run out.
Despite this, the priest was transferred in 1985 to work in a Munich hospital and later in a pilgrimage center in Wuerzburg and only suspended from his priestly duties this month.
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishops Conference, apologized last month for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests after over 100 such cases were reported in elite Jesuit boarding schools around the country.
(Reporting by Christoper Lawton, writing by Tom Heneghan)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests