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Chilean cult leaders head to prison

  |   Feb. 20, 2013 at 11:08 AM
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SANTIAGO, Chile, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Four men convicted of sexually abusing children at a cult compound in southern Chile have turned themselves in to begin serving their sentences, officials say.

Gerard Mucke Koschitzke, Kurt Schnellenkamp Nelaismisckies, Gunter Schaffrik and Dennys Alvear Henríquez were found guilty of "various crimes of sexual abuse, rape of minors and abduction of minors" by Chile's Supreme Court on Jan. 25, The Santiago Times reported Tuesday.

The men, leaders of the Colonia Dignidad, face sentences of five to 11 years in prison.

They were part of the "iron circle" of Paul Schafer, a former Nazi who created Colonia Dignidad in 1961.

In addition to housing his followers, the compound also served as a prison where opponents of dictator Augusto Pinochet were tortured.

Following Pinochet's fall, Schafer fled to Argentina after more than two children claimed he had sexually abused them.

Shafer was later brought back to Chile and died in prison while serving a 20-year sentence for child abuse.

Koschitzke, Nelaismisckies, Bruckmann and Henríquez were among 19 members of Colonia Dignidad convicted in January. They have all been ordered to report to prison by Judge Hernan González of the Talca Court of Appeals.

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