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Sexual abuse

February 15, 2010

Former students at an elite Catholic school in Berlin have come forward with more allegations of sexual abuse, tripling the original number of allegations.

Cross worn by a priest
The number of alleged sexual abuse cases has risen above 100Image: AP

A lawyer investigating a sex abuse scandal at Catholic schools in Germany said on Monday that the number of cases was three times higher than at first believed.

News of the abuse allegations involving around 30 former pupils first surfaced in late January, when a former priest admitted that he forced boys to have sex at the elite Canisius College in Berlin from 1975 to 1983.

Since the revelation, many more former pupils have come forward with allegations against clerics and laymen at Jesuit colleges and other Catholic schools across the country.

"The number of people who have contacted me or the Canisius College has risen to more than 100," lawyer Ursula Raue told German news agency DPA. Raue has been asked by the Jesuits to investigate the allegations.

Cases confirmed across Germany

The Jesuits have since issued an apology, admitting they covered up abuse that had taken place at schools in Berlin, Hamburg, St. Blasien, Goettingen and Hildesheim in the 1970s and 1980s. The worldwide order also confirmed cases in Spain and Chile.

Since the most recent of the cases happened more than 20 years ago, it's still unclear whether or not criminal charges will be brought.

Raue is working on a report on the allegations with Canisius headmaster Father Klaus Mertes and expects to send an interim report to the German headquarters of the Jesuit Order in Munich later this week.

Editor: Chuck Penfold