Breaking: German composer is cleared of rape

Breaking: German composer is cleared of rape


norman lebrecht

December 11, 2020

The distinguished composer Hans-Jürgen von Bose has been acquitted by the Munich district court of raping the sister of one of his students 14 years ago. The court found that sexual intercourse had taken place between him and the woman, some 30 years his junior, but was not illegal as the law stood at the time.

Von Bose, 67, was convicted on a minor chage of drug possession and given a six-month suspended sentence. He had been held in jail on remand for a long period before the trial.

The President of the Munich Musikhochschule, Bernd Redmann, pledged to reinforce student safety at the academy.

His predecessor, Siegfried Mauser, was sent to jail for sexual offences but has yet to spend a single night behind bars.



  • buschfeuer says:

    Please read the Sueddeutsche Zeitung article by Susi Wimmer:
    – Bose got 6 months for drugs on parole
    – The court itself believes the victim that the intercourse was NOT consensual (“Gerade hat die dritte Strafkammer am Landgericht München I akribisch ausgeführt, warum sie glaubt, dass Bose im Jahr 2006 und 2007 bei seiner damaligen Lebensgefährtin dreimal den Geschlechtsverkehr gegen ihren Willen ausgeführt habe – und warum das rein aus juristischen Gründen nicht bestraft werden kann.”)
    – The problem is the old legal situation: rape had to be violent and the victim had to struggle in the moment of the rape and the rapist didn’t stop. Since 2016 the law is changed but only for incidents after this date.
    – The court spoke about the reign of a climate of violence (Klima der Gewalt), mode of punishment (Strafmodus) which Bose enforced against the victim.
    – But with the old right – the events where 2007 – there was no chance to punish this. And the behaviour of Bose in this case the judge personally finds not acceptable. ( “Aber das steht nicht unter Strafe nach dem damaligen Sexualstrafrecht”, sagte Schaulies. “Egal, wie unsere persönliche Meinung zum Verhalten von Herrn von Bose ist.”)
    – This is definitively no 1st class acquittal, this is a 10th class acquittal.

    • William says:

      So… sex that is not resisted and not violent… is rape too?

      As a rule, one should make it QUITE known by resistance that they do not consent. Navigating complex sexual signals are murky enough as it it…

      • German law was changed in 2016, because in many cases active resistance can lead to brutalization and even being killed. The words “no” or “stop” are clear and suffienct to define rape.

      • BruceB says:

        It used to be in the US that the victim had to show signs of violence (bruises and abrasions) in order for the crime to qualify as rape; if she (it was always assumed to be a she) didn’t struggle, it must have been consensual.

        If the rapist held a knife to the victim’s throat and said “don’t move or I’ll kill you,” then she was without recourse.

    • Karl says:

      I also read this:
      A credibility report by Renate Volbert from the Institute for Forensic Psychiatry at the Berlin Charité played a key role in the judgment. The court saw two components here: the level of action described and the level of assessment, i.e. how the experience is felt and assessed. “And there were indications that the evaluation level was not free from bias,” explained the presiding judge Frank Schaulies.

      It has been known for years that the human brain is not like a tape recorder and that it edits memories. Psychologists think that memory is reconstructive, not reproductive. When people recall the past, they mix accurate information with their beliefs and emotions. That puts a lot of doubt into years old accusations, especially if they are based on consent.

    • Le Křenek du jour says:

      > ”Since 2016 the law is changed but only for incidents after this date.”

      Moral indignation is one thing; the legal definition of acts as punishable when and where committed is an altogether different one.

      We, the public, may well condemn the actions evidenced in court according to our moral lights and natural sentiments. So may the judge, venting his personal assessment. But passing legal verdict is subject to a stricter canon.

      There is one overriding principle needing proper observance:
      the principle of non-retroactivity of criminal law.
      This principle is enshrined in article 103 of the German constitution; article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights; article 15 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

      Article 15(1) of the UN Covenant specifies that, in order for conduct to be prosecuted and punished, it must have been previously criminalized either under national or international law. Even for grievous acts such as war crimes or Crimes against Humanity, the Covenant (art. 15(2)) stipulates that an attempt at legal pursuit must be constrained “according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations”.

      German jurisprudence has been informed by the Radbruch Rule (“Gesetzliches Unrecht und übergesetzliches Recht”) since 1946. Hurdles against non-retroactivity are therefore high and steep, and rightfully so.

      Therefore, in the quoted clause, “Since 2016 the law is changed but only for incidents after this date,” the second part is redundant. Only acts criminalized in law at the time they were perpetrated can be brought to court.

  • Brettermeier says:

    “The court found that sexual intercourse between him and the woman, some 30 years his junior, was consensual.”

    @NL: Erm, no? They clearly said it was NOT consensual.

    Would you be so kind and correct this, please?

  • Bose often taught his university students at home and showed some students porn films with the explanation it helped them learn about opera. He visited sex clubs with students. The list of unprofessional behavior is lengthy.

    I hope the ruling using Germany’s unfortunate pre 2016 rape laws will not be taken to sanction such behavior by professors. The situation in the Universities of Music in Germany and other EU countries has been bad for a long time. I hope the progress toward change will continue undeterred.

    I think that in Germany, Bose has largely lost his designation as a “distinguished composer.” In the eyes of most, that requires not only musical accomplishment, but also some moderate standards of human decency.

    • Karl says:

      But in this case it was the sister of one of his students. Are we going to outlaw dating relatives of students now too? Friends of students? Relatives of friends of students? Friends of relatives of students?

  • Mark (London) says:

    Says everything about Bavaria and its failure to protect its children