“Pre-school victims of the Regensburg Domspatzen in (the towns of) Etterzhausen and Pielenhofen described the institution as a prison, hell and a concentration camp,” the report’s co-author lawyer Ulrich Weber said at a press conference Tuesday.
“Many of them called the time there as the worst of their lives, marked by violence, fear and helplessness.”
Of 547 students, 500 said they had been the victims of physical violence, such as beatings, while another 67 said they had been the victims of sexual abuse. Some had experienced both.
“Reasons (for physical violence) were misconduct or poor performance of the students, but also arbitrariness by the educators,” the report said.
Forty-nine people, including school staff, are alleged to have taken part in the abuse, nine of whom are accused of sexually interfering with the children. It is not known if a criminal investigation will begin.
Reports of abuse at the German school first emerged in 2010.
However, Ratzinger admitted he, too, slapped children as discipline. “I did have a very bad conscience doing it, though,” he said in the interview.
“The whole educational system was based on musical bests and thus the success of the choir. Victims reports were not taken seriously,” the report’s authors wrote.
The German school has yet to release a statement on the report’s findings, but the report said efforts have already been made to remedy “former organizational weakness.”
“The transparency and willingness to cooperate between the leaders of the Domspatzen and the bishopric in relation to this investigation is evaluated very positively,” the report said.