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Blows on the buttocks: Penalty increased for Göttingen university professor | > – News – Lower Saxony

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Blows on the buttocks: Penalty increased for Göttingen university professor |  > – News – Lower Saxony

As of: February 22, 2024 2:30 p.m

The Göttingen regional court has sentenced a violent university professor to one year and six months in prison on probation. This could mean he loses his civil servant status.

by Wieland Gabcke

The defendant not only physically injured his former doctoral student twice in his office by hitting her unclothed buttocks and deprived her of her freedom, but also severely coerced her. That was “a humiliation of the first order,” said the presiding judge on Thursday. Furthermore, the professor acted according to a pattern. The chamber ruled that he had already threatened the doctoral student several times to let him beat her.

Judge: Leap in quality – from the fifth act

The professor hit his doctoral student eight times, which was established in the first trial and confirmed by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). “And from the fifth act onwards there was a leap in quality in that you pressured her to basically pull the trigger,” complained the judge. This is as humiliating as one can hardly imagine. In doing so, the professor also violated his duties as a civil servant. “It’s clear that she didn’t want to do it and the defendant still forced her to do it again and again,” said the judge. In addition to the suspended sentence, the professor has to pay several hundred euros to three women affected, including the former doctoral student. He also has to pay 1,000 euros to the Göttingen women’s shelter.

After a final judgment, the professor is threatened with losing his civil servant status

It was the second trial in the case. In the first case, the regional court saw no coercion in either case and sentenced the professor to eleven months in prison, suspended for probation. However, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) overturned this part of the judgment. If the regional court’s current ruling becomes final, the professor will lose his civil servant status. He now has the opportunity to appeal the decision. A loss of civil servant status would be entirely in the spirit of the University of Göttingen, which wants to remove the professor from his employment. A disciplinary action pending at the Göttingen Administrative Court would be invalid if the judgment is legally binding.

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Sentence close to what the public prosecutor’s office demanded

The court almost followed the prosecutor’s demand with the sentence. In the first trial in 2022, she had already demanded a total prison sentence of one year and eight months on probation – for coercion, bodily harm in office and deprivation of liberty. The co-plaintiff agreed to this demand. The defense, on the other hand, had argued for leaving the previous sentence of eleven months on probation – and failed.

Further information

The Göttingen regional court sentenced the man to eleven months probation – now the case is being heard again. more

The co-plaintiff and the injured parties welcome the verdict

Steffen Hörning, the lawyer for the injured former doctoral student, welcomed the verdict. “The reasons for the judgment cannot be surpassed in terms of clarity and clarity,” said the lawyer. His client was also satisfied after the verdict. In his plea, Hörning harshly criticized the defense. The fact that the defense now called the punches a “blunder” was the greatest impudence in his eyes. Contrary to what the defense portrayed, his client always spoke of beatings. The professor’s apology and the perpetrator-victim settlement offered parallel to the court proceedings were insincere. The professor wanted to save his pension rights as a civil servant. If he had shown a word of remorse or regret in the first trial, his client might have been more open to a perpetrator-victim settlement, said Hörning. Now his client has rejected the offer. Also because the defense tried to cast doubt on their credibility. For example, through applications for evidence that were supposed to prove that his client must have been aware of beatings as a punishment ritual from her home country of Vietnam. “That actually left me speechless,” said Hörning. The defense attorney painted the picture of the “submissive Asian woman,” which lawyer Hörning described as racist and sexist.

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Defense does not want to comment

The professor, defense attorney Susanne Frangenberg and her colleague Steffen Stern did not want to comment after the verdict. In her plea, Frangenberg firmly rejected the accusations of racism and sexism. She also didn’t want to discredit the injured party. The lawyer explained that as a defense attorney she had a duty to represent her client’s interests and point out contradictions in the proceedings. Frangenberg and her colleague Steffen Stern had advocated leaving the sentence as it is, also because the incidents occurred over eight years ago. Frangenberg had explained that the professor was already ruined socially, his marriage was destroyed, his house was gone, his sons were at a distance, partly because of the press hype. In his plea, the renowned criminal defense attorney Steffen Stern objected to the fact that the former doctoral student should have been mocked by the perpetrator-victim settlement offered. “The defense doesn’t mock anyone, but the public prosecutor’s office and the court should consider a compromise at every point in the proceedings,” said Stern, referring to the Code of Criminal Procedure. He had unsuccessfully argued that the question of civil servant status should be left to the administrative court.

“Mass read”: Court completely rejects defense motions

The defense had also submitted numerous requests for evidence, which delayed the proceedings. Right from the start, the defenders considered one of the female lay judges to be biased because she was a local politician with the Green Party who was committed to women’s rights and was active in the Federal Women’s Council. They also applied to hear an expert on punishment rituals involving beatings at schools in Vietnam after the former doctoral student as a witness denied knowing such rituals or having spoken about them with her professor. They also requested access to a protocol from the former doctoral student. The court rejected all of the defense’s motions. The judge explained that as far as the witness was concerned, “mass had been said.” He pointed out that the Federal Court of Justice had already confirmed the course of the attacks. The BGH verdict literally states that “in view of the detailed statement of the co-plaintiff, the findings regarding the objective events stand”. The chamber also based its new judgment on this.

Long history: beatings with the bamboo stick and the hand

In the first instance, the professor had already been convicted of coercion, bodily harm in office and deprivation of liberty. Several women, including the former doctoral student, had testified against the professor. It involved beatings on the buttocks, sometimes with a bamboo stick, and on the chest. Statements that the Göttingen regional court considered credible. The professor had admitted the crimes, but in the case of the doctoral student he had spoken of consensual beatings. The Göttingen regional court considered this to be unbelievable then as now. The 2022 ruling said that the professor was abusing his power and the beatings were partly sexually motivated. The BGH then overturned it in two cases because coercion was not sufficiently examined. The regional court was again dealing with two incidents from 2015. The professor and the doctoral student met in his office at the time. He locked the door, asked her to bare her buttocks and then slapped her with his hand on her bare buttocks. Apparently to prepare her for her future professional life. The chamber described these actions by the professor as a serious mistake that he had made. The chamber found no conclusive reason for the fact that they voluntarily allowed themselves to be beaten in any way. For the professor, the verdict is a defeat. It is currently unclear whether it will be appealed.

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Further information

A verdict in the case of an abusive professor is expected to be made soon at the Göttingen regional court. It’s about possible coercion. (01/29/2024) more

The Göttingen regional court sentenced the man to eleven months probation – but has to reopen the case. (03/08/2023) more

This topic in the program:

Regional Braunschweig | 02/22/2024 | 3:00 p.m

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