Regensburger Domspatzen choir
Pope Benedict XVI poses for a group picture with the Regensburg Cathedral Choir (Regensburger Domspatzen) following an ecumenical verspers in the St. Peter's Cathedral of Regensburg September 12, 2006 - Representational Image REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

A new report accuses 49 members of the Catholic Church of carrying out abuse for over a period of 60 years on at least 547 young members of the Regensburger Domspatzen boys' choir in Germany.

The boys attending both the Regensburger Domspatzen's pre-school and high school were allegedly subjected to physical and in some instances, sexual abuse between 1945 and the early 1990s, according to reports.

The findings into the abuse at the Regensburg Catholic boys' choir are based on a 450-page report by attorney Ulrich Weber, the lawyer tasked with investigating the abuse.

According to Weber, nine of the 49 accused were found to be involved in sexual abuse.

Victims said the experience was like "a prison, hell and a concentration camp".

Among the accused was former choirmaster Georg Ratzinger, elder brother of retired Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger was head of the choir from 1964 to 1994. Weber said that while the former choirmaster, now 93, had no knowledge of sexual abuse at the church, "one can accuse him of looking the other way and failing to intervene".

Weber presented his report on Tuesday (18 July), revealing that he had found 500 cases of physical abuse and 67 instances of sexual abuse in the choir spanning over six decades in what was described as a "culture of silence".

The scandal surrounding the abuse first broke out in 2010 although the allegations of abuse go back to 1945.

In 2010, allegations of wide-spread sexual abuse was brought forth by former choir members and by 2013, more than 400 victims had come forward and detailed the abuse they suffered.

Weber also said that he was unable to contact or speak directly to a number of former students and he estimated the actual number of victims to be around 700.

He said the victims described their experiences at the boarding schools as "the worst time of their lives, characterised by fear, violence and hopelessness".

The victims were earlier offered a compensation of between €5,000 (£4,436; $5,776) and €20,000 by the church, reports said. An independent body will now decide the actual figure.