Controversial sect: court bans Twelve Tribes school

Controversial sect: court bans “Twelve Tribes” school

Translated from the German

Spiegel Online

January 24, 2014

The controversial sect of “Twelve tribes” can no longer operate a school because the sect lost a corresponding process before the Administrative Court of Augsburg. The sect had operated since 2006 a so-called supplementary school.

As early as last November, the Swabian government of Bavaria forbade the Twelve Tribes community from operating a school because they had no trained teachers. In addition, it must be assumed that teachers administer punishment to their students in the classroom. The faith community appeals to the Bible and claims that the Good Book orders them to punish the children with rods. Sadly, this “order” does not stop at classroom doors, said the administrative court. The school operator refused an urgent appeal on January 21, 2014. The Bavarian Court of Appeal will possibly make a decision against the complaint.

Almost eight years ago, the Bavarian authorities had approved the school reluctantly, after community parents had resisted for years compulsory education. Since then, the members were meant to teach the “Twelve Tribes” children in the north Swabian Klosterzimmern community.

In the summer of 2013, the Bavarian Ministry of Culture deprived the Twelve Tribes of the authority to operate a school in Klosterzimmern. Then, the sect submitted a new application.

For 20 years now, the authorities are aware of abuse allegations against the Twelve Tribes sect. In early September the police brought a large scale operation in which 40 children were removed from the community because members have inflicted significant and permanent child abuse on their children the district office informed Donau-Ries.

Scandal in the Bavarian Parliament

On Thursday, also the Bavarian Parliament dealt with the “Twelve Tribes”: two ministries reported the current status in the committee on employment and Social affairs. The youth offices have acted correctly and in a timely manner, said a representative of the ministry of social affairs. You’ve been looking for evidence of the abuse allegations, but found none. The reporter Wolfram Kuhnigk has produced film on behalf of RTL with a hidden camera as adults in so-called punishment rooms beat their children. Former members, however, say the authorities have announced their visits. This means that the sect members had hidden rods and only beaten their children on the hands, which leave no trace.

During filming of the Bavarian Broadcasting Company the meeting came to a head and a sect member stood up and insulted parliament representatives. He claimed that community members do not hit children. He had to leave the space.

The public prosecutor’s office is already concerned about the sect: the Ansbach prosecution has set according to Bavarian Broadcasting reports, the criminal investigation on suspicion of abuse of children in mid-January. The investigations have shown that we have no concrete evidence of specific crimes, the senior public prosecutor announced.

Even in court, some parents have had success: a total of seven children were allowed to return to their parents, at least for now. Among them an infant of several months old and several adolescents. According to the court they are either too young or too old for corporal punishment. The court sets the standards for the Twelve Tribes.

The main proceedings before the family courts in Ansbach and Nördlingen continue. There, the judges decide whether the parent’s custody is permanently removed.