A German man who fathered four children with his sister before claiming that an incest conviction violated his human rights continues to advocate for the repeal of laws prohibiting their connection.
Patrick Stuebing, 44, of Leipzig, was adopted as a kid and did not meet his younger sister Susan Karolewski, 37, until he was in his 20s when he searched down his biological family.
Stuebing and Karolewski began having sex a month after meeting and pursued a love relationship after he moved into their mother’s home.
Between 2001 and 2005, the couple had four children, two of whom are disabled, and have long defended their connection.
‘We don’t feel bad about what has happened between us,’ Patrick previously stated about their relationship. We want the law that renders incest punishable to be repealed.’
Stuebing was the third of eight children born into a dysfunctional, impoverished, and uneducated family.
When he was three years old, his abusive father attacked him with a knife, and he was forced to become a ward of the court before being adopted.
Susan was born into the same dysfunctional family as her parents, on the day their divorce was finalized.
Her childhood was deprived, as her unemployed, chain-smoking mother Ana Maria frequently left her at home alone or entertained lovers while she was there.
Susan, who is illiterate and unable to write, has previously expressed feelings of being hated and a burden to her mother.
Six other brothers and sisters perished as children, some of whom were born with impairments.
Stuebing chose to track down his biological parents when he was 18 years old.
He found down his mother and located Susan four years later.
He moved in, and Ana Marie, to her surprise, let him share her young daughter’s room.
‘We both remained up late into the night to talk to each other about our ambitions and dreams,’ he claimed in 2007 about his relationship with the then-15-year-old.
Ana Marie died of a heart attack six months later.
Susan had a close relationship with Andre, one of her challenged siblings, but he died the following year.
The adolescent began to rely on her brother more and more.
‘When our mother died six months later, trust grew into a different form of affection,’ she says.
Meanwhile, he explained, ‘I became the family’s head and had to protect my sister.’
‘She is quite sensitive, yet we helped one other through this terrible time, and our connection eventually became physical.’
After months of sleeping together, it was discovered in court that the couple had slept together sixteen times between January and August 2001.
They didn’t use protection very often.
Despite having had a regular relationship with a woman, he insisted: ‘When we started sleeping together, we didn’t even know we were doing anything wrong.’
We hadn’t considered using a condom.
We had no idea sleeping together was unlawful.’
Our mother would have disapproved, but we are the only ones who can judge us now.’
Susan gave birth to Erik in October 2001, when she was only 16 years old. He was put into care, and now, at the age of twenty, he struggles to walk and speak correctly.
Sarah, who was born in 2003 and has similar difficulties, is now 19 years old.
Nancy, who is approximately 18 years old and appears to be normal, was also brought into custody. Sophia, who is now 17 years old, was born while Stuebing was incarcerated.
Susan, who was in the care of German social services, sought to conceal her pregnancy by dressing in baggy clothes.
She gave birth in the bathtub by herself. Since then, Stuebing has been sterilised in the false notion that if he doesn’t have any more children with his sister, he will be able to avoid prison.
Despite expert advice, both parents appear to be in denial about their children’s problems.
‘We have two disabled children,’ Stuebing explained.
‘However, that has nothing to do with the fact that we are brothers and sisters.’
Our family has other impaired members: ‘We had six brothers and sisters who, in some cases, did not live because they were disabled.’
In 2002, the couple was charged with incest. Stuebing ‘had only used condoms in the beginning,’ according to the district court in Leipzig.
After being found guilty on all counts, Stuebing was sentenced to a year in prison with a year suspended. Susan, who was 17 at the time, was considered as a minor and placed in the custody of youth services.
The court, however, was not so forgiving after the delivery of two additional children. Stuebing was sentenced to ten months in prison in the end.
In 2005, they were back in court for their other daughters, and Stuebing was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for re-committing incest.
Susan told German journalists that she couldn’t live without him after he was arrested and hauled to jail. Stuebing threatened to commit suicide. Despite the fact that the brother was imprisoned, the sister had a fifth child with another man.
Despite this, she gushed to German media upon Stuebing’s release: ‘I’m so delighted Patrick is home and that I have him again.’ ‘I require his assistance.’
Following the case, appeals were made for Germany to join France, Turkey, Japan, and Brazil in legalizing sex between relatives.
They did, however, lose the lawsuit.
In Strasbourg, France, the European Court of Human Rights found that Germany has the right to prohibit incest.
According to the ECHR, Germany, like the majority of the 47 member nations of the Council of Europe, prohibits consenting sexual conduct between adult siblings.
It also stated that there was insufficient information to support a likely trend of decriminalization.
According to the ECHR, Karolewski was not convicted in Germany because she suffers from a mental illness and was only “partially responsible” for her crimes.
Stuebing’s conviction was based on ‘the preservation of marriage and the family,’ according to the ECHR, because the couple’s behavior distorted family roles.
It also mentioned the ‘potential of considerable harm’ to children born through incest, which is prohibited mainly due to the increased chance of impairment.
In 2014, however, the German Ethics Council performed an unexpected U-turn and ruled to allow incest between siblings.
After evaluating the couple’s case, they claimed that the danger of incapacity was insufficient to justify the statute.
It is thought that the couple is currently living together in eastern Germany, where incest between siblings is still outlawed.
In the United Kingdom, it is similarly unlawful and punished by life imprisonment.