More choir boys tell of abuse

2010-03-17 20:05

Vienna - Several former members of the renowned Vienna Boys' Choir have come forward to tell of abuse by leaders in the 1980s, Der Standard newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The choir set up an emergency hotline last Friday after two former singers alleged to the Austrian newspaper that they had been sexually molested.

Since then eight former choir members have come forward, the latest report said.

On the choir's trips, a teacher would call choir boys one-by-one to the back of the bus "to question them closely about sexual experiences", one former member, now 40, was quoted as saying by Der Standard.

Likened to concentration camp

The choir boys suffered huge "pressure" in the prestigious choir and "permanent humiliation", the man said on condition of anonymity, describing the choir as a "concentration camp".

"All the men are over 40 and were members of the Vienna Boys' Choir in the 1980s or earlier," the woman in charge of the hotline, Tina Breckwoldt, told Der Standard.

The choir's management said in a statement to the newspaper that it aimed to bring "clarity on potential cases, justice and help for victims and avoid future abuse".

The accounts come amid a growing series of revelations in Austria of sexual abuse at religious institutions, which has led to the suspension of several clergy.