Austrian women allege mass abuse at foster home Wilhelminenberg

press conference, parliament, Vienna, Austria, 18.10.2011

Attorney Lawyer Attorney Vienna Attorney at Law Vienna compensation

Lawyer Dr. Johannes Oehlboeck LL.M. speaks at a press conference in Vienna, Austria,

An Austrian newspaper is citing two women who allege they and other girls at a Vienna foster home were systematically raped in the 1970s. The daily Kurier says more than 20 girls at the Schloss Wilhelminenberg home were sexually victimized by male staffers and other men. The sisters, now 47 and 49, allege the abuse started when they were six and eight, and ended in their early teens. The newspaper on Sunday cites one as saying they kept silent out of “shame and unbearable pain.”

Attorney Dr. Johannes Oehlboeck LL.M. speaks at a press conference in the Austrian Parliament, Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. Oehlboeck represents two women who claim that they were raped along with other children at a public foster home for years in the 1970s.

Municipal authorities began investigating last year. The city has paid compensation to 139 former residents of Vienna-run orphanages. The daily Kurier quotes lawyer Johannes Oehlboeck, who is representing the women, as saying that compensation they received is insufficient.

Authorities say that — even if crimes can be proven and perpetrators tracked down — the statute of limitations mean the cases cannot be pursued, an argument disputed by Oelboeck. He said the fault lies with officials who "took too much time to process what happened.""I challenge the government," he said. "This is where laws are made, and not on the street."