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Defrocked priest fails to appeal abuse sentence

Austria’s High Court has rejected an appeal by the former head of a Catholic boarding school run by Kremsmünster Abbey who was found guilty of child abuse.

The defrocked priest, 81-year-old August Mandorfer, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2013 for 24 cases of child abuse and sexual violence at the school in Upper Austria. Mandorfer, known as Father Alfons, was charged with sexually abusing 15 children whilst head of the school. He was also accused of torturing and neglecting young boys under his care between 1973 and 1993.

A search at the monastery in 2010 revealed that Mandorfer owned a pump-action shotgun amongst other weapons. He is said to have whipped, kicked and slapped his students, and to have occasionally threatened to go and get his shotgun. Mandorfer admitted that he was guilty but asked for an acquittal under the statute of limitations - which was rejected. The regional high court in Linz must now decide the total length of his sentence and also if he should pay damages to any of his victims.

Attorney - a milestone for a lawsuit of this size and nature

A lawyer for the victims, Johannes Öhlböck, called the judgement a

“milestone for a lawsuit of this size and nature”.

One of the victims told the Austrian Press Agency that the court’s decision was a relief.

“It gives one the feeling that you can rely on justice to be done. It’s a good sign - but just a drop in the ocean,”

he said.

Dr. Johannes Öhlböck LL.M.

Attorney at Law

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