Abuse trial – “he was good with children”

Abuse trial - 'he was good with children'

When the judge asks her how she reacted when her stepfather was arrested for sexually abusing her children, the 46-year-old bursts into tears. She went to her room and cried, she says – then she lost her voice.

The woman’s stepfather is charged with one hundred counts of sexual abuse at munich regional court II. The trial has been going on for about a month, now the woman testified. For years he is said to have abused their children, his two step-grandchildren, who lived with him under the same roof, and also two of their friends.

"I can’t understand it, i trusted him with my children," says the 46-year-old, who admits to having been abused herself as a child, when she regains her composure. "He broke everything for me, he took everything away from me."

The defendant speaks of "charades" when he is led out of the courtroom for a break in the proceedings. Later, however, he says to his stepdaughter: "I would like to apologize to you – that’s all."

The mother of the alleged victims describes her stepfather as a mostly nice and helpful man who liked to cook well and was committed to caring for the children. "He was good with kids."Her daughter and he were "one heart and one soul". It was she herself who introduced the 56-year-old to her mother. "I got them together. I couldn’t know what was going to happen."

However, over the more than 20 years that she lived with him under the same roof, the man had also become aggressive and had insulted and hit her – mostly when he was hypoglycemic. After that he sometimes could not remember it. The man with severe diabetes had a memory lurch that got worse and worse over time.

It is memories like these that the defendant refers to again and again when it comes to the fierce accusations that the public prosecutor’s office is making against him. Although he has largely acknowledged them, he repeatedly relativizes them, and again and again he states that he cannot remember.

Not everything his alleged victims had stated in their non-public video testimony was true, he said. "The frequency is not correct."Regarding the accusations made against him by his step-granddaughter, his lawyer made a statement: "for him it was a game, he had no ulterior motives, but he did it."

He never hurt the children, the 56-year-old emphasizes again and again. "No one really screamed at me."The fact that one of the boys he assaulted says something different, he comments: "maybe he’s as ashamed as I am that something like this happened."

The trial will continue until at least may. With his first testimony in court, the defendant had initiated preliminary investigations by the public prosecutor’s office against a former educator and a clergyman. He stated that he himself had been massively sexually abused in his youth in the former catholic youth village piusheim in the municipality of baiern in the upper bavarian district of ebersberg.

In the meantime, the federal government’s commissioner for abuse, johannes-wilhelm rorig, has intervened in the case and called on the archbishop of munich, cardinal reinhard marx, to have the accusations investigated by an independent commission. According to its spokesman, matthias katsch, ten other alleged victims from the pius home and three witnesses have now come forward to the victims’ organization "eckiger tisch".

According to his own statements and those of his stepdaughter, the defendant had several suicide attempts behind him. "We talked about his time at home," stepdaughter says in court. There had been "quite a few things going on" – "that a boy his age had hung himself in his room" and that "there had also been abuse". "That’s why i said he should get therapy," says the 46-year-old. "I said: let me help you. He said he could do it on his own, but obviously he didn’t manage to do it."

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