The abuse trial against a student of religious education puts further prere on the Catholic University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt (KU). A lecturer and the head of the Faculty of Religious Education are the main targets of criticism. Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstatt spoke on Friday of an "outrageous incident" and a "massive violation" of the guidelines of the German Bishops' Conference.
The 30-year-old student had been sentenced a week ago by the Regional Court of Wurzburg to four years in prison for sexual abuse of an underage altar boy. The former sacristan from the district of Kitzingen had confessed to the acts between 2004 and 2005. His defense attorney has since announced an appeal, so the verdict is not yet legally binding.
KU spokesman Constantin Schulte Strathaus said on request, so long the student remains on leave of absence. Only then is de-registration possible. Against the lecturer further service-legal steps would be examined. This week, the woman had already been relieved of her duties as a practical supervisor for students of religious education and church education work.
The scientist had attended the court hearing. Among other things, a letter from her on university letterhead was read out. In it, it certified to the accused that he could count on continuing his studies in religious education even in the event of a conviction. She also held out the prospect of another internship for the student at a private school.
Without the knowledge of the university and the dean's office
Schulte Strathaus again emphasized that this had happened without the knowledge of the university and the dean's office. Rather, the dean had informed both the university management and the school department of the Eichstatt diocese in mid-December 2011 about the investigation against the student. This had taken place after the student had informed the dean about the investigations. In addition, according to its spokesman, the university is now examining admission requirements for students in general, as well as other preventive measures within the framework of the study programs.
Eichstatt diocese spokesman Martin Swientek said that since last December, it had been clear to his diocese that an assignment as a school intern or in youth work for the 30-year-old was out of the question. This had also been made clear to the university.
On Monday, Wurzburg's Vicar General Karl Hillenbrand had already sent a letter to University President Richard Schenk asking him to clarify the matter. The lecturer had "advocated for the perpetrator to an extent that lacked any reasonable balance of closeness and distance," he wrote. Their behavior was capable of "discrediting the efforts of the Catholic Church as a whole to consistently deal with the abuse ie".