Bavarian justice minister calls for longer statue of limitations in sex abuse | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 06.03.2010
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Germany

Bavarian justice minister calls for longer statue of limitations in sex abuse

The Bavarian justice minister's call to lengthen the statute of limitations for sex abuse cases came alongside new revelations that a private school in Hessen had ignored students' reports of abuse.

Clouds pass over St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Scandal after scandal has hit the German Catholic Church

The ongoing and ever-deepening scandal over physical and sexual abuse in German Catholic institutions has led Bavarian Justice Minister Beate Merk to call for a lengthened statute of limitations for sex abuse cases.

"There are cases that have not played out as they should have," she told Munich-based daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Saturday. "If it were up to me, Germany wouldn't have any statute of limitations at all, like in Switzerland."

Merk said the trauma of sexual abuse is incomparable to that of other crimes, and called for a "minimum" 30-year period after the abuse is committed for prosecutors to bring charges against the abuser.

Meanwhile the federal German justice minister repeated calls for a round-table discussion with Catholic Church officials on the issue of sex abuse.

"Especially for cases in which criminal prosecution is no longer possible, a round-table discussion can open a dialogue on the legitimate concerns of the victims," Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

New revelations

View of Odenwaldschule in Hessen

The school's current principal called the failure to report the crimes "a great mistake"

Amid the ongoing sex abuse scandal in German churches, allegations of past abuse also arose at an elite private school in the state of Hesse. The school, called Odenwaldschule, released a statement through its Web site Friday saying two students had come forward claiming they were abused by the former school principal between 1975 and 1980.

The school has since admitted there are reports of more than 20 victims, and that at least three teachers were involved in the abuse. Ex-pupils at the school have told the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau the number of victims lies between 50 and 100.

"It was a failure and a great mistake that the school didn't look into these allegations," current principal Margarita Kaufmann told Frankfurter Rundschau.

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Editor: Andreas Illmer

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