“Spiritual Leader”  goes on trial for alleged rape, beatings

The man was allegedly accused of having brutally raped and physically assaulted his former partner last May.

"Spiritual Leader",  goes on trial, alleged rape, beatings
A German court
"spiritual leader",  goes on trial, alleged rape, beatings
A german court

A criminal trial in Germany against the “spiritual leader’’ of a group in Bavaria has revealed talk of demons, beings of light, psychological pressure, punishment, drug use and much more.

The leader, a 42-year-old German, faces criminal charges of rape and grievous bodily harm in proceedings that began on Monday in the city of Schweinfurt, located in Bavaria in southern Germany.

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The community the defendant led from a shared flat in Schweinfurt revolved around power, violence and sex for years, according to prosecutors.

A witness testified that as many as two dozen people lived in the flat, with the supposed aim of supporting people on their path to healing and growth.

The man was allegedly accused of having brutally raped and physically assaulted his former partner last May.

He also allegedly strangled her into unconsciousness three times in the community’s shared flat – all in order to exorcize her alleged demons, according to prosecutors.

“The victim suffered several bruises, haematomas and swelling on her body as a result of the punches, kicks and choking by the accused,” public prosecutor Melanie Roth told the court in Schweinfurt on Monday.

A (haematomas) is a collection of blood which is located outside the blood vessels

According to a police investigation, drugs such as cocaine and LSD played an important role in the group to rid members of “parasites” or to recognise alleged misconduct.

“The methods used by the accused also included corporal punishment and as far as women in particular were concerned performing or tolerating sexual acts with and by the accused,” said Roth.

Numerous supporters of the accused came to the start of the trial and tried to get into the courtroom, but most were denied entry due to limited space in the courtroom.

Officials from the Catholic and Protestant churches also attended the proceedings.

The man’s defence attorneys called supportive witnesses who portrayed the alleged victim in the case as manipulative, and having extreme and violent sexual fantasies.

A separate witness who was with the abused woman on the day of the crime told the court that she was badly mistreated, with a swollen face, bloody nose and bloody mouth.

The witness testified that she had the impression that the woman was dependent on the accused leader: “He probably beat her and tried to exorcize her demons.”