In Regensburg, Germany, 547 allegations of physical and sexual abuse have been raised against the notable Catholic choir school, Regensburger Domspatzen.
This school, founded in over 1,000 years ago, provides music for St. Peter's Cathedral.
Allegations of abuse surfaced in 2010 and an independent report commissioned by the Regensburg diocese confirms that over a period of 70 years, out of 547 students, 500 said they had been the victims of physical violence and another 67 said they had been the victims of sexual abuse. Some students alleged to experiencing both.
“The past six, seven years the church and especially the Bishop Mueller have called me a liar, one to foul his own nest," said Alexander Probst, a victim of the abuse. "Deep depressions, loss of my job, my voice. This cannot be compensated. But now it is documented and I think, this is the most important thing. The seven-year fight has paid off."
Forty-nine people, including school staff, are said to have participated in the physical mistreatment, 9 of them related of sexual abuse.
“It has to be assumed that almost all of those in a position of authority at the Domspatzen at least had some superficial knowledge of the cases of violence, but showed scarce interest in the topic," said Ulrich Weber, a lawyer representing the victims. "This becomes evident when looking at reports that show that victims were unable to make their voices heard.”
The Catholic Church has been implicated in multiple cases of sexual abuse across the globe over the past few decades.
In a news conference Tuesday, Michael Fuchs, the Vicar General of Regensburg Diocese said, "In retrospect we see that we have made mistakes and could have done things differently."