Munich groper loses his appeal

Munich groper loses his appeal


norman lebrecht

September 26, 2018

Munich’s former conservatory chief Siegfried Mauser has lost his appeal against a jail sentence of  two years and nine months for sexually molesting women.

Mauser had claimed procedural irregularities in his trial. The Oberlandesgericht threw this out and, significantly, allowed the state prosecutor to submit an appeal, arguing that the sentence was too short.

Mauser, 63, still enjoys extensive support in the music-educational establishment.

UPDATE: The SZ has printed a small correction:

“Hinweis: In einer früheren Version wurde der nun vom Oberlandesgericht (OLG) München abgewiesene Revisionsantrag Mausers irrtümlich auf das Urteil im zweiten Prozess gegen Siegfried Mauser (Mai 2018, zwei Jahre und neun Monate Haft) wegen sexueller Nötigung bezogen. Das OLG hat aber den Revisionsantrag verworfen, der sich auf das Berufungs-Urteil im ersten Prozess gegen Mauser bezog (April 2017, neun Monate Haft zur Bewährung).”
Note: In an earlier version  the now rejected revision request by Mauser by by the Higher Regional Court (OLG ) was mistakenly related to the verdict in the second trial of Siegfried Mauser (May 2018, two years and nine months in prison) for sexual coercion. However, the Higher Regional Court rejected the appeal request which referred to the appeal judgment in the first trial against Mauser (April 2017, nine months imprisonment on probation).


  • william osborne says:

    This is an important ruling. The sexual exploitation of students has been a serious problem in Germany’s conservatories for decades. It has had a very destructive effect on the lives of many students, often causing them to leave music as a career. I hope this ruling will ripple throughout the European music world, since the problem is just as bad, if not worse, in countries like France and Italy.

    Aside from the devastating harm sexual exploitation and assault cause, the sexual objectification of colleagues creates a work atmosphere in which women are demeaned and disrespected from the outset. So this ruling will be step forward for women in music on numerous levels.

    As a result of these events, the University of Music in Munich has created stricter administrative policies and practices concerning sexual assault. I hope this will serve as a model for other schools in Germany and set new standards of professionalism.

    • martain smith says:

      ……atmosphere in which women are demeaned and disrespected from the outset.

      Just “women”?

      • william osborne says:

        No, but obviously in this specific case is the issue under discussion is about women.

        • norman lebrecht says:

          These weren’t students. One was a teacher, the other an employee.

          • william osborne says:

            That’s true, but I have heard of few cases of women colleagues being assaulted. It’s women students that have faced the brunt of the problem, which is the point I was wanting to make. So I mentioned women colleagues in the next paragraph.

          • william osborne says:

            And to be very clear, I’m speaking generally, not about Mauser.

  • william osborne says:

    There two legal standards in criminal law, 1) clear and convincing proof, and 2) the slightly weaker proof beyond a reasonable doubt. These standards are an almost insurmountable burden in cases of sexual assault since there are typically no witnesses. As a result, only 7 out of 1000 sexual assaults end in a conviction.

    This is why Title IX has been such a useful tool. It is centered in civil law which uses a third legal standard called a “preponderance of evidence.” This is still a rigorous standard, but it has helped address the enormous imbalance victims in universities face when making complaints.

    I think Germany and other countries need something like Title IX. It is only the rarest and most extreme cases like the one involving Mauser where the criminal courts can take decisive action. The universities need a clearer avenue within the realm of civil law when dealing with sexual harassment and assault.

    • Michael Endres says:

      I am not sure about TitleIX.
      What is your view on this article ? Seems kafkaesk to me…

      • william osborne says:

        This article is not a factual study of Title IX, but a commentary based on a single case. It focuses on the author’s idea that when drunk students have sex, both are responsible for any misdeeds that happen. That isn’t so much about Title IX as it is about an odd interpretation of it stressed by a defense lawyer. In actual practice, the evaluations of guilt in cases of drunk students are more differentiated. In short, drunk women can still say no. And if they aren’t capable of saying yes or no, then it is illegal to have sex with them (even if the woman was stupid for making herself so vulnerable.)

        By chance, the Cincinnati Conservatory recently had a scandal involving its flute professor which better illustrates how Title IX is used. UC’s preliminary report contained interviews with nine students who said the professor kissed them, touched them inappropriately or said inappropriate things to them. A former UC professor also told investigators he witnessed that professor’s sexual misconduct with students, including videos the professor made of himself having sexual relations with two students.

        There were multiple cases of exploitive sexual misconduct involving this professor, and Title IX allowed the university to act upon them under the realm of civil law. Here is a report:

        There was a similar recent scandal at the School of Music at Utah State involving a piano professor. Googling will likely bring up reports of that and many other cases in US music schools. I cannot think of a single case in these schools of music where the evidence against the professors sanctioned wasn’t overwhelming. And yet without Title IX, nothing would have been done.

        The use of Title IX to deal with sexual assault and harassment is a recent development, and so as with all new uses of laws, there are some errors being made. With time improved practices will evolve.

        Title IX is modelled on Title VI, the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It was so controversial, that Eisenhower sent US soldiers to Southern states to enforce it. There two we saw society searching for the best ways to apply the law. The busing of students was one result that caused a lot of controversy, trouble, and mixed results. Laws often must be tested and improved through their application – through the development of a body of case law and administrative practices. On balance, Title IX has solved problems in the music world that no one knew how to solve for decades. It is leading to big improvements for both men and women, and to higher professional standards in classical music.

        • william osborne says:

          And I should note that I mentioned the Cincinnati Conservatory because the article Michael mentions is about the University of Cincinnati to which the conservatory belongs.

          • william osborne says:

            It should also be clearly noted that in a sworn affidavit, the flute professor denies the accusations made against him.

            This highlights another aspect of Title IX. People are not convicted of crimes. Tiltle IX allows universities to conduct investigations and act upon them through sanctions ranging up to dismissal, but they are not courts of law. This means that people sanctioned can still assert their innocence. If the person feels the university made a wrong decision, he or she can file a lawsuit, thus insuring another level of due process.

          • Michael Endres says:

            I was reading through this and yes, I acknowledge that such a process is per se not a bad idea. As long as there has to be – as you called it – “overwhelming” or at least beyond reasonable doubt evidence.
            I have seen enough during my years at German Musikhochschulen to recognise the necessity of a workable process to deal with these issues.
            But guilt must be established firmly, otherwise we open a pandora’s box, as this can be used to finish somebody’s career with a simple accusation. And that is too dangerous a tool…
            I have been told by a witness of a case in Germany where exactly that was about to happen:
            a person in an office was blackmailed by the sentence: ” You better do as I say or I will report you for molesting me.” The accusation, which had the full potential to ruin somebodys life, was unfounded.
            But the accused imediatedly started full proceedings, and voila, the claims were quickly retracted.
            I am generally uncomfortable with processes, which take the ” innocent until proven otherwise ” not very serious. But Title IX, diligently used, seems indeed a workable tool.

            Just let’s never forget old Platon: ” Die schlimmste Form der Ungerechtigkeit ist die vorgetaeuschte Gerechtigkeit “( which goes both ways of course ).

          • william osborne says:

            All true. If Germany or other European countries develop similar laws, they will have the advantage of learning form the US successes and mistakes.

  • Michael Endres says:

    @ William Thank you for taking all the time to answer this. Will look into, I am just terribly busy right now.