Ulrich Weber, above, a German lawyer tasked with investigating abuse at two Catholic institutions – including the famous Regensburger Domspatzen boys’ choir – today revealed in a report that ‘at least’ 547 children had been the victims of sadists and sexual predators.
According to the BBC, the alleged physical cruelty, including sexual abuse, relates to children attending both the Regensburger Domspatzen’s pre-school and high school over a period of 60 years.
Representatives from the Regensburger Domspatzen Boys’ Choir have yet to officially respond to the report.
Presenting his findings today, Weber said the investigation had uncovered 500 cases of physical abuse and 67 instances of sexual abuse over six decades.
Of the 49 church members who carried out the abuse under what was described as a “culture of silence”, nine were found to have been involved in sexual abuse.
He said the victims described their experiences at the boarding schools in southern Germany as:
The worst time of their lives, characterised by fear, violence and hopelessness.
Weber said that, as head of the choir from 1964 to 1994, Georg Ratzinger, above, could be:
Blamed for looking the other way and failing to intervene.
Ratzinger, the 93-year-old elder brother of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, has denied any knowledge of the alleged abuse and said that it was “never discussed” while he ran the choir.
The church has previously offered to pay the Regensburger victims compensation of between €5,000 (£4,436) and €20,000 (£17,500).
The 1,000-year-old choir was first rocked by allegations of widespread sexual abuse in 2010.