It will probably take months, or even years, but justice may finally catch up with Dr. Hartmutt Hopp, a leader of the secretive sect Colonia Dignidad, who one year ago smuggled himself out of Chile and turned up in Germany (see earlier post:https://notesontheamericas.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/once-more-colonia-dignidad/).
Chilean judicial authorities, who had convicted Hopp of child sex abuse and placed him under house arrest while they carried out another investigation into his and other colony leaders’ activities, filed an extradition request, which Germany did not accept.
But now a group of 120 former residents of the colony, also living in Germany, have brought a law suit against Hopp as well as the German and Chilean governments, which they say failed to protect them despite repeated warnings about what was going on at the settlement. They are backed by a German human rights group, and as German law requires that crimes against children must be prosecuted within 10 years of victims reaching the age of 18, the charges against Hopp have been pared down to abuses against 25 children at Colonia Dignidad between 1993 and 1997.
During that period Chile had a democratically elected government, but it would be years before authorities were able to muster enough legal and police resources to force its closure. In the meantime, Colonia Dignidad’s leadership seemed to operate with impunity, and witnesses reported small aircraft landing at the property in southern Chile without passing through any customs or immigration controls.
Reuters has this story on the German lawsuit: http://news.yahoo.com/insight-german-sect-victims-seek-escape-chilean-nightmare-120321764.html