On September 5th, 2013 more than 100 German police raided two communal locations of the Twelve Tribes Christian sect, rescuing 40 children after new evidence of child abuse was brought to light. There were 28 children removed from a monastery and farm near Deiningen town and 12 from a communal house in the village of Wornitz. The children are currently in foster care.
The American-founded sect denies the abuse allegations and offered no resistance to the police. However, it claims it believes in spanking children if disobedient, and admitted that a “small reed-like rod” was used to inflict “pain not damage” and was not considered by them to be abusive.
The head of Noldingen district court, said: "We suspect that parents were exercising abuse." It has been reported that the adults would soak the rods in oil, making them more flexible. The children were allegedly hit on bare backs, arms and feet.
The Twelve Tribes sect operates 10 communities across the world. It follows the Old and New Testaments as a direct word of God. It has refused to allow the children of its members to attend public schools. It also rejects sex education and the women (known as "sisters") of the sect are subservient to the men (known as "brothers"). The members believe that they are descendants of early Christians. In 2000, a couple belonging to the group in the U.S. state of Connecticut pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and cruelty for hitting their children with a 30-inch fiberglass rod. In 1984, authorities rescued 112 children from the sect in Vermont, although the raid was later deemed illegal.