South-west German town rocked by child sex abuse allegations

A scout leader in the small Baden-Württemberg town of Staufen is being investigated for alleged sexual abuse. The man is said to have abused four victims “up to 400 times”.

South-west German town rocked by child sex abuse allegations
The picturesque town of Staufen, where the abuse is said to have occurred. Image: DPA

The mother of one of the alleged victims brought a complaint in February, telling police that her son was sexually abused by a volunteer caretaker when aged between nine and eleven.

DPA reports that three other victims, also from the scout group, have been identified. The police have set up a 12-person task force to investigate the abuses. The suspect, a 41-year-old man from the town, has been arrested and taken into custody. 

Read: Police failures probed in the largest sexual abuse scandal in German history

Read: Catholic priests abused thousands in Germany

The man was previously the subject of a sexual abuse investigation for alleged activities between 2004 and 2007, but was later acquitted due to a lack of evidence. 

The abuse of two of the alleged victims is said to have taken place between 2009 and 2013, while the other two are said to have been abused between 2014 and 2018. 

'Very manipulative'

Police suggest that the man was “very manipulative” in abusing his power as a scout leader, spending time with the children and giving them gifts before engaging in the sexual activity.

Investigators allege that the man told the children the acts were “completely normal”. 

“We cannot rule out the possibility that there are more victims”, the investigators told DPA. So far more than 100 children have been interviewed. 

“We’ve tried to build a bridge between ourselves and the possibly traumatized children and adolescents,” said Mathias Kaiser, the head of the investigation team. 

“Not everyone is ready to cross this bridge and open up.”

A second set of allegations from the same scout group

While early indications are that the accused acted alone, another man from the scout group is also being investigated in relation to separate abuse allegations.

In that case, a female victim has come forward to indicate that she had been abused seven years ago while aged between 13 and 14.

Police have indicated that the second suspect is currently ‘at large’, with investigators unaware of his whereabouts. 

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px}
p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}


Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Catholic priests abused thousands in Germany: study

More than 3,600 children were sexually assaulted by Catholic priests in Germany over nearly seven decades, local media reported Wednesday, citing a study commissioned by the German Bishops Conference.

Catholic priests abused thousands in Germany: study
A man walking out of a Catholic church in Bremen. Photo: DPA

The damning report, which Cardinal Reinhard Marx is to present officially on September 25, deals another blow to the Church after clerical child abuse has been uncovered worldwide.

According to the study, 1,670 clergymen in Germany committed some form of 
sexual attack against 3,677 minors between 1946 and 2014, Spiegel Online 
reported. Most of the victims were boys.

More than half were 13 years old or younger at the time of the abuse, the 
study concluded after examining 38,000 documents from 27 German dioceses.

The study also noted that some records had been “destroyed or manipulated”, 
warning therefore that the scale of the abuse may be even greater.

Predator priests were often transferred to another location, with information on their criminal history not provided to the new site.

Only one in three (566 out of 1,670 accused) were subject to disciplinary 
hearings by the Church, and most got away with minimal punishment, said Die 
Zeit weekly, also citing the report. 

Of these, 154 cases ended with no penalty, while 103 closed with a warning. Only 38 percent of the accused were prosecuted by civil courts – on complaints lodged by victims themselves or their families.

Over the last decade, several German Catholic institutions have revealed 
cases of child sexual abuse, including an elite Jesuit school in Berlin which 
admitted to systematic sexual abuse of pupils by two priests in the 1970s and 

Last year, a world-famous Catholic choir school in Germany, the Regensburger Domspatzen school, revealed that more than 500 boys there suffered sexual or physical abuse in what victims have likened to “prison, hell or a concentration camp”.

Reaction from the church

Germany's Catholic Church said Wednesday it was “dismayed and ashamed” by decades of child sex abuse by priests, after a report was leaked showing that thousands of minors were assaulted.

“We know the extent of the sexual abuse that has been demonstrated by the study. We are dismayed and ashamed by it,” said Bishop Stephan Ackermann on behalf of the conference.

The aim of the study is to shed light on “this dark side of our Church, for 
the sake of those affected, but also for us ourselves to see the errors and to do everything to prevent them from being repeated.”

“I stress that the study is a measure that we owe not only to the Church 
but first and foremost, to those affected.”

The report deals another blow to the Church after clerical child abuse has 
been uncovered worldwide.