There’s shock and anger in Germany at revelations of a child sex abuse scandal in Jesuit Catholic schools and a subsequent cover-up.
Dozens of people have come forward saying they were abused by two priests at an elite school in Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s. Their claims at the time were ignored.
The current rector of the school, Klaus Mertes, said: “It’s a pedagogical catastrophe. We can try to make up for it as much as we can by saying to former students ‘Yes, you told us. No, we didn’t listen. Today we want to listen. Please speak to us, we will believe you.’”
One of the accused priests admitted to the Jesuit Order in 1991 that he sexually abused students but no action was taken. The priest is now 65 and lives in Chile.
A Jesuit spokesman has also apologised. Stefan Dartmann said: “I ask them (the victims) for their forgiveness for all the abuse they suffered and for the failure of the Order’s authorities at the time to investigate and react accordingly.”
The abuse at the Berlin school was described by its rector as “systematic” and there have been similar claims dating back decades at four other Jesuit colleges across Germany.