Baiern » Munich – Massive sexual abuse, violence, prostitution: serious allegations put a former Catholic home for difficult-to-educate boys in the sights of the judiciary – and once again put pressure on the church and its educational work.
The public prosecutor’s office in Munich II has initiated preliminary investigations into a former educator of the former youth village of Piusheim in Baiern near Munich and a priest at the time. The authority announced this at the request of the German Press Agency.
The background to the investigation is allegations of massive sexual abuse that became known as part of a trial before the Munich II Regional Court. A 56-year-old man, who is himself accused of serious abuse of young children, had shown in court that he had been abused by several men in Piusheim, among others, in his childhood and adolescence.
He described terrible things, spoke about prostitution, about “buying” and “sex parties”. “90 percent of the boys went out and stole the villagers at the weekend, 10 percent went to Munich to buy.” Two of his friends would have hanged themselves – one of them in the shower with a scarf from 1860 Munich. Even as a child, he tried to take his own life.
These allegations cannot currently be substantiated. “It cannot yet be said whether the information turns out to be reliable and whether criminal prosecution can finally take place,” emphasizes Public Prosecutor Karin Jung.
However, the archdiocese of Munich-Freising confirmed TEH on request that nine suspected cases of sexual assault or physical violence had been reported in connection with the facility that was closed in 2006. All cases occurred from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, according to Catholic Youth Welfare. The boys who were looked after as “difficult to educate” in Piusheim were between 6 and 18 years old, most of them older than 14.
Bishopric spokesman Christoph Kappes said that payments had been made to recognize the suffering in two cases. One time it was about a priest, whom the alleged victim could not name. The allegations were so credible that the diocese paid anyway. In a second case, the Catholic youth welfare service took over the payment because the alleged perpetrator was not a priest but an educator.
The defendant’s defense lawyer, Anja Kollmann, considers her client’s statement to be absolutely authentic. The 56-year-old had indicated to her in the run-up to the court hearing what had happened to him in his youth. The fact that he reported so extensively about this in court surprised her, and she was shocked by the dimensions of the whole. “It’s a second Ettal.”
In the Upper Bavarian Ettal Benedictine Abbey, however, it was mainly pupils from privileged families who were later given mostly good jobs and who were eventually able to talk about what had happened to them, said psychology professor Heiner Keupp, who works for the Center of Bavaria Family and Social Affairs accompanied the study by the Institute for Practical Research and Project Consulting on the situation of home children in the 50s, 60s, and 1970s. “But in these homes, there were mainly children from difficult backgrounds who could hardly exchange and reflect on what happened to them.”
Not much is documented about the Piusheim. According to the Catholic Youth Welfare Service (KJF), it was founded in October 1905 by the Catholic “Association for the Care of Neglected and Indefinite Youth”. The KJF took over the sponsorship on October 1, 1981, and resigned on June 30, 2006.
In the book «Obedience, Order, Religion. Denominational Home Education 1945-1975 »from 2012 the authors write of violence in the 1950s / 60s. And of a “moral offense” that brought an educator “into custody”.
This could only be the tip of the iceberg: Landsberg psychotherapist Gunther Muhlen, who did an internship in Piusheim in the early 1970s, reports of a senior educator who had to quit his job “after my time” due to sexual abuse of children and adolescents.
In the so-called MHG study on dealing with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, which documented thousands of cases across Germany, almost all of the allegations brought to the diocese of Piusheim failed. Only the one suspected case with the priest appears as spokesman Kappes says – among other things because otherwise they were educators or the information was vague. The Piusheim also does not appear in the «Westphal Report» on abuse in the diocese. Archbishop was Joseph Ratzinger from 1977 to 1982, later Pope Benedict.
The spokesman for the “Eckiger Tisch” initiative, Matthias Katsch, hopes that former residents of Piusheim will now report. “I’m sure we will still have a few surprises then.”