And here we get a story of not only covering up the sexual abuse, but actually going as far to give it a new euphemism--"intimate, fatherly behavior".
Last week, around 20 former students claimed they had been sexually abused by two teachers at the school, Wolfgang S. and Peter R. The abuse is believed to have been committed during the 1970s and 1980s.
'Nothing To Apologize For'
After being contacted by SPIEGEL, one of the former teachers admitted he had abused some of his students. Wolfgang S., a former sports teacher and Jesuit priest, issued a statement to his victims stating it was "a sad fact that I abused children and young men under pseudo-educational pretexts." The churchman, who today lives in South America, said that he had informed regional Catholic authorities in Germany in 1991 of his "criminal past." He claims the Jesuit priests had known for 19 years about the multiple incidents of abuse.
Stefan Dartmann, the Catholic Provincial Superior for Germany, confirmed to SPIEGEL that the order has knowledge of the crimes that had been committed by Wolfgang S. at the time. Dartmann said a lawyer had been hired to investigate the files "to determine what, exactly, the Jesuits knew at the time and what consequences they drew." Wolfgang S. left the order in 1992. Previously, he is also believed to have abused pupils at other schools, but he refused to comment on those allegations.
In addition to his time at the Berlin school, he worked at the Sankt-Ansgar School in Hamburg and at the Sankt-Blasien school in the southern Black Forest region from 1982 to 1984.
'Intimate, Fatherly Behavior'
The then-director of the school, Father Hans Joachim Martin, said that S.'s "intimate, fatherly behavior" towards some schoolchildren had attracted his attention. S. was later forced to leave the high school.
S. also claimed he had told the Vatican about his misconduct. In his statement, he says that he had provided testimony to the Vatican with "unvarnished honesty." And in South America, he had "again and again come into close contact with the torturers and victims" of the Pinochet dictatorship. "I was confronted with my mirror image as a tormenter of children," he said.
Several victims expressed their outrage over the tone of his statement. In the document, dated Jan. 20, S. addressed "all the people who I abused as children and in their youth." He added, "I'm sorry for what I did to you. And if you are capable, I ask you to forgive me." But he also told SPIEGEL: "I have come clean about my past to God and the world."
The second man alleged to have abused children at the school is a 69-year-old former religion teacher from Berlin, Peter R., who has disputed all allegations. SPIEGEL could not reach R. for comment by press time on Friday or on subsequent attempts on Monday. After his time at the school in Berlin, R. apparently worked as a pastor with young people in the state of Lower Saxony. He was reportedly the victim of a knife attack by a former Canisius College student several years ago.
Another chronic story of sexual abuse in the church, another generation of children who grew into adulthood with continual fear, humiliation and self-loathing. And when a story like this comes to light--20 years of acknowledged abuse--the response from the church is to give it a casual re-wording, as if it were only a misguided form of affection, not conscionable molestation. Shame on you, Catholic Church.