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The Regensburger Domspatzen choir in Regensburg Cathedral
The Regensburger Domspatzen choir looks back at 1,000 years of historyImage: picture-alliance/ dpa/dpaweb

Abuse at Catholic school

March 5, 2010

Cases of abuse in the 1950s and 60s have been brought to light at the religious music school that teaches the famous Regensburg boys' choir in Bavaria. But the diocese in charge of the school says details are sketchy.


A former member of the boys' choir of the Regensburger Domspatzen school in the state of Bavaria claims he was abused at the school that runs the choir in the 1960s. The school was headed by the pope's brother Georg Ratzinger from 1964 to 1994.

The diocese in charge of the Roman Catholic Regensburger Domspatzen School told reporters on Friday their research showed that two chaplains were convicted for sexual abuse committed between the late 1950s and the late 1960s, but that there were no new cases.

But Ratzinger, a Roman Catholic priest and church musician, told German public radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk that he had no knowledge of any cases of abuse at the school.

Ongoing research

The diocese's spokesman Clemens Neck said at a news conference on Friday that everything would be done to solve the crimes, even if they were decades old. He hopes to have a first report in two weeks' time.

Neck said one chaplain was caught fondling two boys in 1958 and was subsequently removed from service by Ratzinger's predecessor Theobald Schrems. The chaplain was sentenced to two years in prison.

Another case involved a further chaplain from the school, who was convicted in 1971. The diocese believes he committed the crimes sometime before June 1969, but could not give any more details.

The Catholic Church has come under heavy attack in Germany recently over allegations that senior officials failed to keep a number of convicted paedophiles away from children right up to the 1980s.


Editor: Susan Houlton

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