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Berlin authorities placed children with paedophile foster parent for 30 years

Researchers look at late social scientist’s influence in local child welfare services

Zoe Tidman
Thursday 18 June 2020 19:01 BST
Ten young people were placed with a paedophile foster parent in Berlin between the 1970s and the 2000s
Ten young people were placed with a paedophile foster parent in Berlin between the 1970s and the 2000s (Ivan Jekic/Getty)

Authorities in Berlin placed children with a foster parent who was a paedophile for more than 30 years, researchers have said.

A new study has looked into the practice proposed by Dr Helmut Kentler, a psychologist who claimed paedophiles could make particularly loving parents for troubled children.

He is thought to have hypothesised it did children no harm to have sexual contact with adults.

Ten young people were placed with a paedophile foster parent – who received a regular care allowance and was supervised by Dr Kentler – from the 1970s into the early 2000s, the researchers said.

Two of these children have since spoken out about sexual abuse.

“The study left no doubt about Kentler’s intentions. He used his influence to place children with paedophiles,” an official from the Berlin Senate’s department for education, youth and family said.

However, they said it is “less clear” to what extent officials, especially those in Berlin’s youth welfare services, turned a blind eye or supported the opinions of Dr Kentler, who died in 2008.

The study, conducted by the University of Hildesheim, found local authorities in Berlin allowed this placing of foster children for decades.

Researchers looked at Dr Kentler’s role and influence in the city’s public child and youth welfare services. They said the background to their study was the leading social scientist’s proposals to have paedophile men as foster parents.

“The Kentler scandal goes back a long way and is never over for those affected,” Sandra Scheeres, the senator for education, youth and family in Berlin, said.

“What was done to children and adolescents at the time is deeply shattering.”

She added: “As the State of Berlin, we accept responsibility for the suffering inflicted on those under protection in public responsibility.”

Ms Scheeres said authorities are working to give compensation to those affected.

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