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Older pupils also abused students at German Catholic choir school: report

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German public broadcaster on Tuesday broadened the scope of allegations of decades of abuse at Germany’s most famous Roman Catholic choir school, saying not only teachers but older students were to blame.

Last July, an independent report chronicled physical and sexual assaults by teachers against 547 pupils between 1945 and 2015 at the boarding school of the “Regensburger Domspatzen”, or Regensburg Cathedral Sparrows.

Citing legal documents and personal accounts, broadcaster Suedwestrundfunk, part of the ARD consortium, reported on Tuesday pupils were also subjected to sexual assaults, ranging from forced masturbation to anal sex, by older students.

The school is more than 1,000 years old and was run from 1964 to 1994 by former Pope Benedict’s brother, Georg Ratzinger.

One former student, who attended the exclusive boarding school from 1987 to 1992, described abuse by older pupils.

“I know it was systematic and usual for older students to victimize younger pupils, not just one at a time, but with several eighth-, ninth-, 10-graders, going after sixth- and seventh-graders,” the former student told the broadcaster.

He said the assaults occurred during concert tours and in the school’s dormitories, toilets and showers.

The independent report released in July concluded that a total of 547 former pupils had probably been abused, of whom 67 suffered sexual abuse.

The broadcaster said there was further evidence of sexual abuse among students in a December 2016 court ruling against a former student, Christian F., who was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence for sexual abuse, including against two former younger students.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrew Roche