Catholic Church begins abuse probes in Germany Inquiries to consider whether Pope or his brother knew of allegations Last Updated: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | 12:45 PM ET Comments36Recommend22 The Associated Press Catholic authorities in Germany have announced two major abuse investigations one into the renowned choir once led by Pope Benedict XVI's brother and another into what everyone, including the Pope, knew about the sexual and physical abuse of students. The Roman Catholic diocese of Regensburg in southern Germany said it appointed an independent investigator to examine the allegations of physical and sexual abuse that have engulfed the prestigious Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir, which was led by the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, the Pope's older brother, from 1964 until 1994. So far, the sexual abuse allegations predate Ratzinger's term. Diocese spokesman Jacob Schoetz said that Nuremberg lawyer Andreas Scheulen was named to lead the inquiry and all charges will be investigated thoroughly. "The independent lawyer will thoroughly go through all existing legal papers, all court decisions and any information available," Schoetz said. "We expect to publish first results within the next two weeks." In addition, the German Bishop's Conference said it would look into wider-ranging allegations across the country after more than 170 students at Catholic schools have said they were sexually or physically abused decades ago. That investigation will also examine allegations of sexual abuse at the choir and look into what, if anything, Pope Benedict XVI himself knew in his previous position as the archbishop of Munich, prelate Karl Juesten told The Associated Press. "We do not know if the Pope knew about the abuse cases at the time," Juesten said. "However, we assume that this is not the case." Munich Archbishop Reinhard Marx will be "certainly investigating these questions," he said. Pope's brother apologizes to victims Juesten, the liaison between Roman Catholic bishops and the German government, also praised Ratzinger, the Pope's brother, for apologizing to victims on Tuesday for doing nothing decades ago to stop the beating of students at an elementary school in Germany. Reached by telephone Wednesday, Ratzinger said he had no further comment on the matter. Ratzinger had first said he was unaware of any abuse, and Juesten said that others should follow the 86-year-old Ratzinger's lead in coming clean. "The other perpetrators should follow the example set by Mr. Ratzinger and apologize to the victims for the abuse they have committed," he said. However, the Pope's brother has said he was unaware of allegations of sexual abuse at his own choir incidents alleged to have occurred before Ratzinger led the choir. The Roman Catholic Church has been hit by years of abuse claims in Canada, the United States, Ireland, Australia and other countries. Yet the German abuse allegations are particularly sensitive because Germany is the Pope's homeland and because the scandals involve the prestigious choir led by his brother for 30 years. Juesten said it was not known if Pope Benedict, who served as archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, was aware of any of the child abuse cases that took place then at Catholic schools and other institutions. The Domspatzen choir reported to the Regensburg diocese and not to the archbishop of Munich.