The final report on a scandal surrounding the famous Regensburg Cathedral Choir (Regensburger Domspatzen) documented hundreds cases of violence and sexual abuse against boys and young men, German media reported.
The choir is a part of the religious school attended only by male students and is the official choir for the liturgical music at St Peter's Cathedral in Regensburg, Bavaria.
According to the document, at least 547 former cathedral school students have been abused since 1945.
The report was presented by Ulrich Weber who investigated the case for two years.
In particular, Weber found out that 500 students had suffered physical violence, and 67 — sexual violence.
At the same time, he noted that the actual figures could be even higher and spoke about 700 possible victims.
The victims compared the years they spent at the Regensburger Domspatzen to "prison, hell and concentration camps," describing it as "the worst time of their lives, full of fear, violence and helplessness."
According to the report, there are 49 perpetrators suspected of having abused students.
The incidents occurred mainly in the 1960s and 1970s and almost all of them were punishable at the respective times.
In Weber's opinion, the main reason why the crimes have gone unpunished is the culture of silence.
As a religious institution, the Regensburg Cathedral Choir was supposed to be protected so as not to damage its reputation.
Thus, critical media reports were basically ignored.
Now prosecution is no longer possible due to the statute of limitations.