Older pupils also abused students at German Catholic choir boarding school: report

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German public broadcaster on Tuesday broadened the scope of allegations of decades of abuse at Germany’s most famous Roman Catholic choir school, saying not only teachers but older students were to blame.

Last July, an independent report chronicled physical and sexual assaults by teachers against 547 pupils between 1945 and 2015 at the boarding school of the “Regensburger Domspatzen”, or Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows.

Citing legal documents and personal accounts, broadcaster Suedwestrundfunk, part of the ARD consortium, reported on Tuesday pupils were also subjected to sexual assaults, ranging from forced masturbation to anal sex, by older students.

The school is more than 1,000 years old and was run from 1964 to 1994 by former Pope Benedict’s brother, Georg Ratzinger.

One former student, who attended the exclusive boarding school from 1987 to 1992, described abuse by older pupils.

“I know it was systematic and usual for older students to victimize younger pupils, not just one at a time, but with several eighth-, ninth-, 10-graders, going after sixth- and seventh-graders,” the former student told the broadcaster.

Business Insider (UK)

Crime statistics: Boarding school sex offences rising, police figures suggest

BBC News reports that sexual offences in England and Wales have have more than doubled in the past three years.

Some of this increase comes from the growing number of sexual abuse investigations of UK boarding schools. This includes physical abuse such as beatings, which almost always have a sexual (power/control) element.

Janitor jailed for 19 years for ‘terrifying’ abuse of boarding school boys

A former boarding school janitor has been jailed for 19 years for committing ‘heinous’ sexual assaults against schoolboys.

Anthony Bennett, now 65, befriended schoolboys as young as 12 at Shebbear College in rural North Devon during the 1970s and 80s and groomed them and then repeatedly assaulted them in his caravan.

The victims, now all middle aged men, gave moving evidence to the jury about being humiliated and terrified by their ordeal at the private boarding school.

Bennett would share cigarettes, coffee and alcohol with the children and encourage them to watch porn with him before subjecting them to frightening abuse, Exeter Crown Court was told.

His actions had severe psychological impact on his victims and left them wondering about the people they might have grown up to be if it wasn’t for Bennett.

Devon Live

‘There was no Harry Potter magic at Christ’s Hospital.’ Is there at any UK boarding school?

Retired teacher Peter Burr from a top boarding school Christ’s Hospital who abused four boys aged 11 to 14 between 1969 and 1973 is jailed for four years – after a victim spoke out on Vanessa Feltz’s radio show

He invited pupils to visit his study for tea and cake and to watch television before fondling them.

One victim described how Burr enticed them with chocolate biscuits.

The house tutor and physics teacher, who was responsible for patrolling bathrooms and dormitories, also became sexually aroused when he played with boys in the swimming pool.

One of the victims described the school at the time of Burr’s offences as having a ‘culture of corporal punishment’ where pupils were told they were privileged to be attending.

In a victim impact statement, one of the men, who was sent to Christ’s Hospital for free after his father died, said: ‘No matter how miserable the school made me, I believed it was my duty to go there and support my mother.

‘Six times a day the pupils were told they ought to be thankful. There was no-one to turn to and no privacy. I learned that I had no rights and no status.

There was no Harry Potter magic at Christ’s Hospital.’

He said he has struggled to maintain relationships and appears withdrawn, distant and arrogant as he tries to hide his past.

He added: ‘(Burr) could have been a good man and a decent teacher but instead he sat there like a stain and stole my childhood.’

Daily Mail


Another Christ’s Hospital teacher jailed for sexually abusing pupils

A former top private school teacher has been jailed for sexually abusing four of his pupils.

Peter Burr was jailed at Hove crown court on Friday after admitting nine counts of indecently assaulting the boys aged between 11 and 14 at Christ’s Hospital between 1969 and 1973.

Burr is the second former teacher from the boarding school near Horsham, West Sussex, to be jailed in as many months.

Burr’s prosecution is part of a wider investigation into allegations of abuse by former teachers at the school.

A former house master, Peter Webb, 74, was jailed for four years in December.

Three more men are due in court later this year. Police have said the prosecutions are not linked.

Ajaz Karim, 63, who lives in London, denies nine charges of indecent assault and one attempted indecent assault against six female pupils. He is to stand trial in April.

James Husband, 67, of York, is accused of four counts of rape and five counts of indecently assault against a woman.

Gary Dobbie, 66, of Albi in France, is charged with seven counts of indecent assault and one attempted indecent assault against two boys, as well as three counts of indecently assaulting two women.

Husband and Dobbie deny the charges and are to stand trial in May.

The Guardian

BBC News

London Catholic school abuse survivor speaks of ‘constant violence’

A man who was abused as a child at a Catholic school in London has spoken of a “culture of violence” at the institution, where a former headmaster was jailed just before Christmas for rape and other sexual offences.

“The threat and infliction of violence was constant. You couldn’t escape it – it was completely normalised,” said the survivor, who gave evidence in court against Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence.

The former headmaster of St Benedict’s middle school, who later became abbot of Ealing Abbey in west London, is thought to be the most senior Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes in the UK. He is the fourth person to be convicted of sexual abuse committed at St Benedict’s.

“There wouldn’t be a day when there wasn’t a queue of boys outside [Soper’s] study to be caned,” said “Peter”, who asked not to be identified. During the two years Peter was a pupil at the school, Soper “molested me as often as possible”.

Peter thought no one would believe his word against that of a priest. The abuse “was accepted, it was the norm, it was routine. Everybody had been into Father Laurence’s study. I realised it had happened to lots of boys before me and would happen to lots of boys after me.”

The Guardian

Former housemaster at top private school jailed for abusing pupils

Peter Webb, 74, sentenced to four years in prison for abusing boys at Christ’s Hospital school in Horsham in 1970s and 80s

A former housemaster at a top private school has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing four of his pupils.

Peter Webb would sneak into dormitories and touch the boys while they slept at Christ’s Hospital school in Horsham, West Sussex, in the 1970s and 80s, Hove crown court was told.

The children would wake to find the teacher sitting on the edge of their beds with his hands in their pyjamas. He also pushed himself up against one of the boys during a woodwork class, the trial heard.

The judge, Christine Henson, described Webb’s crimes as a “gross abuse of trust”.

The Guardian

BBC News

Australia child abuse inquiry: Final recommendations released

A five-year inquiry into child sexual abuse in Australia has released its final report, making more than 400 recommendations.

The royal commission uncovered harrowing evidence of sexual abuse within institutions, including churches, boarding schools and sports clubs.

Since 2013, it has referred more than 2,500 allegations to authorities.

The final report, released on Friday, added 189 recommendations to 220 that had already been made public.

Tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused in many Australian institutions. We will never know the true number,” the report said.

“It is not a case of a few ‘rotten apples’. Society’s major institutions have seriously failed.”

Religious ministers and school teachers were the most commonly reported perpetrators, the report said.

[Two inquiries in the UK into sexual abuse of children in boarding schools and other institutions are ongoing…]

BBC News

Austria: Tyrol to investigate allegations of ski boarding school sexual abuse

VIENNA (Reuters) – An independent commission will investigate former Austrian skiers’ allegations of sexual assaults by coaches, supervisors and team members from the 1970s until at least 2005, the Austrian province of Tyrol said on Tuesday.

Former Olympic skier Nicola Werdenigg said last month that she was raped when she was 16 by a male team colleague and that what happened to her was not an isolated incident.

More former Austrian ski athletes have since spoken out, though anonymously, since Werdenigg’s interview, reporting similar experiences and suggesting the abuse was systemic.

The issue in Austria has arisen as numerous allegations of sexual harassment in entertainment, business, politics and sport have been made worldwide in recent months.

Werdenigg, the 1975 Austria downhill champion, did not reveal any names in her interview with the daily Der Standard. She alleged assaults and sexual violence by coaches, supervisors, colleagues, service staff at a Tyrolean boarding school for ski racers.


Downside and Ampleforth: IICSA hearings underway

End secrecy of confessionals ‘to protect Catholic children’

Child sexual abuse inquiry is told that not reporting suspected incidents should be a crime

Mandatory reporting of sexual misconduct and abolishing the secrecy of the priest’s confessional box are needed to protect children at Catholic schools, the national inquiry into child sexual abuse has been told.

At the opening of a three-week hearing into Benedictine schools, lawyers representing scores of victims have called for fundamental changes to the way the church handles complaints and deals with suspected offenders.

Richard Scorer, of the law firm Slater and Gordon, who represents 27 core participants at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said the failure to make reporting suspected abuse a crime had allowed clerics to evade responsibility.

“A mandatory reporting law would have changed their behaviour,” Scorer told the hearing. “At Downside Abbey, abuse was discovered but not reported and abusers were left to free to abuse again and great harm was done to victims.

The Guardian