40 children taken by authorities from German sects over child abuse
40 children have been taken away from their families, over allegations of beatings and child abuse, by German police after a raid at the Twelve Tribes religious group in the southern state of Bavaria, yesterday.
More than 100 police officers raided two sites used by the religious group and took away 28 children from one monastery near the town of Deiningen and 12 from a communal house in the village of Wornitz.
All the 40 children have now been temporarily handed over to be cared for by foster families while the claims are investigated.
The local daily newspapers Augsburger Allgemeine and Spiegel Online have reported that “the local officials are saying a family court and youth office has received credible, concrete and actionable information that the physical and emotional welfare of the children could be permanently compromised”.
The US-founded Twelve Tribes group has denied the allegations and in an online statement said: “We are an open and transparent community that does not tolerate any form of child abuse. Our children grow up in a loving environment and are educated in the spirit of charity.’’
The Christian group describes itself as a “spiritual brotherhood” and believes in spanking children if disobedient.
The group has communities in 10 countries around the world. The German branch of Twelve Tribes is well known to the local authorities and had been in trouble when male members of the group were arrested in 2004 for refusing to send children to school and setting up their own school that later lost its licence on July 31st.