July 19, 2017
Over a span of roughly a half-century, at least 547 boys at a famed Catholic choir school experienced some form of significant abuse, according to an independent investigation released Tuesday. The 440-page report details an environment that some former pupils likened to a "prison, hell and a concentration camp," which persisted for decades under the direction of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's older brother.
The education at the Regensburg Domspatzen — a boys' choir that enjoys worldwide renown and has been around for upwards of a millennium — "was oriented toward top musical achievements and the choir's success," the report said, as translated by The New York Times. "Alongside individual motives, institutional motives — namely, breaking the will of the children with the aim of maximum discipline and dedication — formed the basis for violence."
Of the hundreds of cases listed by attorney Ulrich Weber, whose report was commissioned in 2015 by the Regensburg diocese, 67 are believed to have been cases of sexual abuse.
And "these are not 547 cases where an individual was affected once," former choir member Alexander Probst told Reuters. "Rather, this was an ongoing practice over decades where 547 children were tormented, abused, mistr