March 6, 2010 / 8:26 PM / 10 years ago

German choir abuse predates Pope's brother: Vatican

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Saturday that two cases of sexual abuse linked to a renowned cathedral choir in Germany did not coincide with the thirty-year period it was run by Pope Benedict’s brother.

After cases of abuse at Jesuit schools around Germany came to light last month, shocking the country, the Roman Catholic Church on Friday revealed charges of priests beating and sexually abusing boys in at least three schools in Bavaria.

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano printed a statement on Saturday by the Bishop of Regensburg Gerhard Ludwig Muller saying that one case of abuse by the deputy director of a primary school linked to the choir was detected in 1958.

The clergyman was promptly dismissed and prosecuted, the statement said.

Another priest, who worked with the cathedral choir in 1958 for seven months, was convicted of sexual abuse 12 years later. An investigation was now taking place into whether he committed any abuse during his time with the choir.

“Both cases were made public at the time and can be considered closed in a judicial sense. They do not coincide with the time at which Rev Georg Ratzinger was in charge (1964-1994),” the statement read.

The diocese said in a statement on Friday it was investigating three men’s claims of sexual abuse, beatings and humiliation in the early 1960s, when they attended boarding schools connected to the choir.

The Vatican said it fully supported the diocese of Regensburg’s decision to openly and decisively investigate the issue and the Church’s primary concern was to provide justice for any victims.

The diocese, where the pope taught theology at the university from 1969 to 1977, said there were no current abuse cases and it would investigate all charges from the past.

Reporting by Daniel Flynn

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