Many honors, poor grades

Many honors, poor grades

Franz Kaspar, the former vicar general of the Limburg diocese, is not given a good report card in the ecclesiastical audit report on the million-dollar Limburg bishop's residence. But there are also allegations elsewhere.

Kaspar has now also received poor marks for the first decade of his work as director of the Catholic facility for the handicapped Sankt Vincenzstift in Rudesheim-Aulhausen and in the neighboring Catholic youth facility Marienhausen. The results of a telephone survey presented on Thursday in Rudesheim in matters of violence and abuse in the for the time after 1970 incriminate him. Kaspar was director of the Vincenzstift from 1970 to 2006.

Violence and abuse incidents in the period from 1945 to 1970 had already been documented in a study presented by the foundation last September. It incriminated above all Kaspar's predecessor as foundation director, the clergyman Rudolf Mueller, as a perpetrator. He had run the Vincenzstift from 1958 until his suicide in 1970. That there were terrible crimes under its aegis was well known. But that there were also under Kaspar still some incidents, is only now reasonably certain evidence.

Clear data basis

People who had experienced or observed "incidents in connection with violence in any form" in the convent or in the Marienhausen Youth Welfare Center after 1970 could report via a hotline. The survey was led by Annerose Siebert, a professor at the Faculty of Social Work, Health and Care at Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences.

The data base is comparatively narrow, but nevertheless clear. A total of seven calls were received in three months: four former residents of the home, relatives and a former employee. They reported physical, sexual and psychological violence.

Overall, it can be concluded that there was a higher incidence of violence at the beginning of the 1970s, according to Siebert. Serious incidents had been cited for the period up to the early 1980s. According to the callers, Kaspar did not react appropriately to information about such incidents, said Siebert.

The managing director of Sankt Vincenzstift gGmbH, Caspar Solling, added that they were "saddened with everyone who came forward". What had happened then must never happen again. Soelling did not want to comment on Franz Kaspar himself. Possible that the shadow of the former vicar general is too long. Finally, Kaspar also headed the Wiesbaden-based commissariat of the Catholic bishops in the state of Hesse from 1979 to 2003. The institution, known as the Catholic Office for short, represents the interests of the church to the political authorities in the state capital.

Money from a fund for the Vincenzstift

Kaspar is a recipient of the Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Hessian Order of Merit, among others. In addition, he was awarded the "Brotteller", the highest award of the German Caritas Association, and the title of "Honorary Professor" at the University of Frankfurt was also not withheld from him. The name Benedikt Degen finally found its way into modern German literature. In Martin Walser's 1996 novel "Fink's War" about a political intrigue with an ecclesiastical background, the head of the Wiesbaden Catholic Office is called this.

As the weekly newspaper "Die Zeit" (Thursday) now reports, Kaspar used money from a fund for the Vincenzstift to make art purchases. Some of the purchased objects he had placed in his private apartment. The fact that this is true, had already confirmed Vincenzstift boss Solling long ago to the "Wiesbadener Kurier". Since 2010, the Vincenzstift, which has also operated the Marienhausen youth home since 1991, has belonged to the Cologne-based Josefs-Gesellschaft. Franz Kaspar was also chairman of the supervisory board of this organization, which operates several facilities for disabled people throughout Germany, for 28 years.

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