News24

Abuse scandal hits Vienna choir

2010-03-12 15:08

Vienna - The Vienna Boy's Choir said on Friday it could not rule out cases of abuse in the past, in a reaction to allegations by two former members.

The Austrian cultural icon is the most prestigious institution among the schools, Catholic monasteries and parishes that have been faced with accusations of physical and sexual abuse in the past days.

Two former choristers have told the daily Der Standard of sexual harassment and harsh disciplinary measures by teachers, and one of the alleged victims said he had been molested by another boy.

Hard to clear up

The management of the choir said it would be hard to clear up the issue because the incidents reportedly happened in the 1960s and 1980s, but added that "we are aware that there may have been cases of abuse in the past".

"We cannot make these incidents undone, but we have taken appropriate action decades ago," the statement said, stressing that educators at the choir and affiliated boarding school are highly qualified and receive supervision.

The management is planning to probe the accusations once it receives more concrete information about the cases.

The choir is the successor of an imperial court ensemble set up in 1498 in Vienna. Some of its 100 members aged between 10 and 14 are scheduled to tour Japan, Canada and the United States in March and April.