Eight years in prison

Eight years in prison

Symbolic image prison © Jan Woitas

A former Protestant church employee and scout supervisor from Staufen, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district, has been sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing four children in more than a hundred cases.

In its verdict on Wednesday, the Freiburg Regional Court also ordered the 42-year-old defendant to be placed in preventive detention. In addition, at the request of two joint plaintiffs, he was ordered to pay damages for pain and suffering in the amount of 10.000 euros respectively 8.000 euros. The Baden regional church was shocked by the abuse.

The regional court considered sexual abuse of children in 111 cases and serious sexual abuse of children in 13 cases as proven, in one of these cases also intentional bodily harm. The chamber came to the conclusion that the man sexually abused four boys, then under 14 years old, from spring 2011 to summer 2018. They were 9 to 13 years old at the time of the crime.

Formerly employed by the Protestant church congregation

The prosecution of further alleged acts was refrained from with the consent of the prosecution, the court said. Prosecution had originally alleged abuse in 330 cases. It had demanded eight and a half years imprisonment as well as preventive detention. The defense had asked for a sentence of five and a half years in prison.

The man was arrested in February 2019 after a report was filed by the mother of a child involved and has been in custody since then. The 42-year-old was employed by the Protestant parish of Staufen between 2009 and 2013. After that, he was no longer active for scouts or church. According to police, the man came into contact with two of the victims in his capacity as a scout supervisor. According to the public prosecutor's office, he met the other two children "in their spare time.

Accused in the past before

The Baden regional church said it was shocked by the suffering inflicted on the young people. "Our deepest sympathy goes to those affected and their families," said regional bishop Jochen Cornelius-Bundschuh. He added: "We are shocked by the extent of the acts that have now become known."

The now convicted defendant had reportedly been accused of abuse once before in 2003. At that time, however, the competent court was not able to convince itself of the guilt of the accused, according to the regional church. He had been acquitted on appeal for lack of evidence. After his acquittal in 2007, he says, he was reinstated without conditions as a volunteer counselor with the local scout troop of the Christian Scout Association of Germany (CPD) – and, from 2010 to 2012, additionally with the church congregation as a children's and youth ministry worker.

According to its own statements, the Baden regional church has commissioned an external lawyer, who is currently examining how the employment took place at the time. "From today's perspective, it was a misjudgement that we deeply regret," explained the regional bishop. At that time, the acquittal of the judiciary was trusted.

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Christina Cherry
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