Sexual abuse at German elite school


Canisius Kolleg in Berlin

From the Washington Post in the USA:

Elite German school reports sexual abuse cases

The Associated Press

Thursday, January 28, 2010; 11:12 AM

BERLIN — The director of one of Germany’s most prestigious high schools says that several former students were sexually abused by teachers in the 1970s and 1980s.

Father Klaus Mertes says he has sent out 500 letters to alumni of Berlin’s private Catholic Canisius Kolleg to determine the extent of the case after seven ex-students recently reported they were abused. Canisius Kolleg is one of Germany’s pre-eminent schools, alma mater for many politicians, businesspeople and scientists.

Mertes said Thursday that the seven, and likely many more, were abused “systematically and over years” by two ex-teachers who were members of the Jesuit order.

Mertes said the teachers left the school in the late 1980s but were still alive and were contacted after the allegations surfaced.

11 thoughts on “Sexual abuse at German elite school

  1. Official: Germany’s Jesuits did not stem sex abuse

    Stefan Dartmann, Chairman of the Jesuit in Germany, Klaus Mertes, principal of the Canisius-Kolleg, and Gabriele Huedepohl, from left, participate in a press conference in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Feb. 1, 2010. The director of one of Germany’s most prestigious high schools says that in a widening abuse scandal at least 20 students have been sexually abused by their teachers, two Jesuit fathers. Father Klaus Mertes said Monday that after he sent out 500 letters to alumni of Berlin’s private Catholic Canisius Kolleg last month, more students have come forward to report the abuse cases by Fathers Peter Riedel and Wolfgang Stab, who taught at the school in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The head of the Jesuit order of Germany, Father Stefan Dartmann, said at a press conference that after these initial cases, the fathers were transferred to other Catholic institutions across Germany were they subsequently abused more boys and girls. Dartmann admitted that the order had proof of the cases since 1981, but never informed parents, students or the authorities. (AP Photo/dapd/Franka Bruns)

    View through a window of the courtyard of the Canisius-Kolleg photographed in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Feb. 1, 2010.The director of one of Germany’s most prestigious high schools says that in a widening abuse scandal at least 20 students have been sexually abused by their teachers, two Jesuit fathers. Father Klaus Mertes said Monday that after he sent out 500 letters to alumni of Berlin’s private Catholic Canisius Kolleg last month, more students have come forward to report the abuse cases by Fathers Peter Riedel and Wolfgang Stab, who taught at the school in the 1970’s and 1980’s. (AP Photo/dapd/Franka Bruns)

    By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER
    The Associated Press

    Monday, February 1, 2010; 4:12 PM

    BERLIN — Germany’s top Jesuit apologized Monday for serial sexual abuse apparently committed by two priests at one of the country’s most prestigious high schools, saying there was evidence of it for years but Jesuit officials did not “react the way it would have been necessary.”

    At least 20 students were sexually abused by the two priests at Berlin’s private Catholic Canisius Kolleg in the 1970s and 1980s, the school’s director Father Klaus Mertes said at a joint press conference with Father Stefan Dartmann, the head of the Jesuit order of Germany, on Monday evening at Canisius Kolleg.

    That is much higher than the initial seven sexual abuse cases attributed to the two priests, Fathers Peter Riedel and Wolfgang Stab, that Mertes had reported last month.

    “I am ashamed that nothing was done at the time,” Dartmann said at the news conference. “I also apologize that those responsible at the order at the time did not … react the way it would have been necessary.”

    Dartmann conceded that the Jesuit order of Germany had had evidence of the sexual abuse cases since 1981, but had never informed parents, students or authorities. Such cases can no longer be prosecuted in Germany because of its statute of limitations, he said.

    Dartmann also said the two priests continued to sexually abuse boys and girls after being transferred from Canisius Kolleg to other Catholic schools and youth institutions in Germany, Mexico, Chile and Spain.

    Three former students at a Jesuit school in Hamburg also accused one of the priests of abuse, several papers reported Monday night, and another Catholic school in the Black Forest is reportedly investigating if students there were also victims of abuse by the priests.

    Canisius Kolleg is one of Germany’s pre-eminent schools, the alma mater of many politicians, businesspeople and scientists. The scandal has become big news because Germany has not seen the major sexual abuse scandals involving the Roman Catholic church that the United States and Ireland have.

    Mertes said Monday that after he sent 500 letters to alumni of the school last month, more students reported suffering sexual abuse by Riedel and Stab, who taught at the school in the 1970s and 1980s. Mertes had reported the first seven abuse cases last week.

    Riedel forced his students to masturbate and Stab exercised “excessive corporal rituals” in a sexual context, said Dartmann.

    Both men later left the order and Stab has admitted the abuse. He now lives in Chile and sent a letter last month to some of the victims to apologize.

    Riedel was attacked by one of his former victims in 1986, who then killed himself, the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper said. Riedel has not admitted the abuse.

    All the victims at Canisius school in Berlin were male and most were about 13 when the abuse began, Mertes said. They are around 40 now. Some of the later victims also include girls, according to Dartmann.

    The Jesuit order has assigned an independent counselor for sexual abuse victims to investigate all allegations and present a report on the findings in two weeks.

    Canisius Kolleg was founded as an all-boys school and turned coed in the late 1970s.

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  2. German Jesuits say sorry over abuse

    Germany: The country’s top Jesuit apologised on Monday for serial sexual abuses committed by two priests at one of the country’s most prestigious secondary schools in Berlin, acknowledging that Jesuit officials had turned a blind eye to it.

    At a joint press conference with Jesuit order of Germany head Father Stefan Dartmann, Catholic Canisius Kolleg director Father Klaus Mertes said that at least 20 students had been sexually abused by the two priests in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Mr Dartmann – who conceded that the order had had evidence of the abuse since 1981, but had never informed anyone – observed that such cases could no longer be prosecuted in Germany because of its statute of limitations.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/86326

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