Abuse case in Vienna – search raises new questions

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In the case of abuse involving a physical education teacher, who allegedly abused several boys aged nine to 14 at a high school in Vienna until his suicide in May 2019, the evidence may have been set aside.

There are no concrete indications for this, but a search of the teacher’s house in the spring of 2019 did not take into account the cellar, the car and the building of the teacher at his school. The National Police said the search was carried out on behalf of the public prosecutor.

According to information from the APA, a failure to search for child pornography material was made in the teacher’s locker and in the apartment of a former school janitor next to the gym and which he had converted into a “chill-out zone”. In any case, an abundance of relevant material was secured in the man’s apartment.

In the course of the investigation, it was found that the teacher, who had worked as a non-executive official at a high school specializing in sports since 1996, had taken nude or photographed photographs of his students, some of whom had not even noticed because they may have been drugged.

Good friend of the gym teacher
A few days after the teacher’s suicide, a close friend of the teacher showed up at school and is said to have emptied his locker and took the contents into a car. The man was mainly a good friend of the sports teacher against whom a victim lawyer submitted a statement of facts to the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office last Monday for mistreatment of minors and abuse of authority. He and another acquaintance of the teacher are described in the fact statement as possible accomplices. The presumption of innocence applies to both.

It is certain that the knowledge of the pedagogue was kicked out of the house by the new director of the school in question because he would have regularly sought contact with young pupils in or on the school grounds and would have gone to the school.

Ski Courses in Salzburg
Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Judith Ziska confirmed another statement of fact distributed last Friday by the Vienna Education Directorate in connection with secondary school events. The media had previously reported that the sports teacher spent a night with a student in his room on a ski course in Salzburg, taking pictures of sauna visits with his students touring the school, which at least some of the teaching staff knew about. Students and parents had complained, including to the school management. The Education Directorate is now having the Public Prosecution Service check whether there may be criminally relevant misconduct on the part of school officials.

“We are not an investigative service”
Education director Heinrich Himmer confirmed in an interview with the APA on Monday that the sauna photos and other dubious events were only heard from the media: “We are not an investigative body. We do not have the opportunity to see the investigation results of the prosecutor’s office.” It is also “extremely difficult to establish connections quickly and accurately with sports clubs” for which the sports teacher worked outside of school.

First report in November
As Himmer emphasized, people depend on as many former students affected by attacks as possible to come forward. There should be a first preliminary report in November.

Criticism from victim representatives
Victims’ representatives have criticized the Commission of Inquiry for not being independent. It is composed of representatives of the Education Directorate, the Child and Youth Lawyer (KJA) and the Child and Youth Welfare Office in Vienna. “I trust the Commission,” emphasized Himmer. For legal reasons, as director of education, he “cannot set up an independent committee”.

Source: Krone

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