Austrian authorities probe claims that youths were forced to participate in sex parties

By Veronika Oleksyn, AP
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Austria probes youth sex abuse allegations

VIENNA — Austrian authorities are investigating allegations that youths from a Vienna children’s home were forced to participate in sex parties in the 1990s, an official said Tuesday.

Michaela Schnell, a spokeswoman for the Vienna public prosecutor’s office, said the probe began in April but declined to provide more details.

However, the website of Austrian public radio Oe1 reported that the alleged abuse happened in apartments in the Austrian capital and involved boys and girls.

It quoted one unidentified former resident of the private August Aichhorn Haus, now 24, as saying he and others were sold like goods and that the abuse included rape and beatings.

Another, also unidentified and now 27, said the minors were coerced but paid for their services. The man, who was not abused, said he found about 170 photographs showing youths aged 14 and under carrying out sexual acts in apartments that he and others cleaned for an entrepreneur to make pocket money.

“We were picked up by bus to clean, and to see to it that the sex toys down in the cellar were cleaned before and afterward,” the man was quoted as saying.

It was not immediately clear who owned and operated August Aichhorn Haus, and telephone calls to it were not answered on Tuesday.

Oe1 reported that the claims were investigated 10 years ago but that no one was ever convicted. Schnell could not immediately provide background on the case.

The 27-year-old man said he gave the photos showing the abuses to police and alleged they “disappeared” once he handed them over. The man also said he knows of five witnesses who were not interrogated during the previous probe.

The allegations have resurfaced at a time when Austria and other European countries are investigating a string of sex abuse claims against Catholic clergy and church-run institutions.

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