Man and his sister reveals fight to make incest legal

German man, 44, who fell in love and had four children with his SISTER, 37, after their mother died continues his fight to make incest legal

  • Patrick Stuebing, from Leipzig, is continuing his fight to make incest legal 
  • Was adopted as a child and didn’t meet his sister  Susan Karolewski till his 20s
  • Started having sex a month after meeting and now have four children together 
  • Previously speaking of relationship, Patrick said they ‘do not feel guilty’ about it

A German man who fathered four children with his sister – and then claimed an incest conviction breached his human rights – is continuing to call for an end to laws banning their relationship. 

Patrick Stuebing, 44, from Leipzig, was adopted as a child and did not meet his younger sister Susan Karolewski, 37, until he tracked down his natural family in his 20s.

After he moved into their mother’s home, Stuebing and Karolewski started having sex a month after meeting and began pursuing a romantic relationship. 

The couple, who have long defended their relationship, went on to have four children between 2001 and 2005 – two of whom are disabled.

Previously speaking about their union, Patrick said: ‘We do not feel guilty about what has happened between us. We want the law which makes incest a crime to be abolished.’

Patrick Stuebing, from Leipzig, who fathered four children with his sister Susan Karolewski – and then claimed an incest conviction breached his human rights – is continuing to call for an end to laws banning their relationship (pictured) 

Stuebing was the third of eight children born into a poor, uneducated, dysfunctional family. 

His violent father, now dead, attacked him with a knife when he was three and he was made a ward of court and then adopted. 

Susan was born into the same unhappy family – on the same day her parents’ divorce was finalised.

Her childhood was deprived, with her chain-smoking, unemployed mother Ana Maria often leaving her at home alone, or entertaining lovers while she was there.

Stuebing and Karolewski started having sex a month after meeting and lived together in their mother’s home for several years (pictured together in 2004) 

The couple, who have long defended their relationship, went on to have four children between 2001 and 2005 – two of whom are disabled

How brother and sister fell in love after meeting for the first time: The timeline of Patrick and Susan’s incestuous relationship 

1978 –  Patrick Stuebing is born third of eight children born into a poor, uneducated, dysfunctional family.

1981 –  Patrick is adopted aged three

1985 – Susan Karolewski is born to the same parents.

1996 –  Stuebing, 18, decided to find his biological parents

2000 – Stuebing, 22, tracked down his mother Ana Marie and she allowed him to move in and share bedroom with Susan, 15. 

Six months later, Ana Marie died of a heart attack.

January-August 2001 –  Stuebing had sexual intercourse with his sister 16 times and rarely used protection.

October 2001 – Susan, 16, gave birth to a baby boy, Erik. 

He was taken into care and was severely disabled.

2002 – The couple were first tried for incest.

The district court in Leipzig heard how from January 2001 until August 2001, Stuebing ‘had only at the beginning bothered using condoms’.

Stuebing received a year’s suspended jail term after being found guilty on all counts. 

Susan, then 17, was treated as a juvenile and placed into the care of youth services. 

2003 – the couple’s daughter Sarah, now 19, was born and suffers similar disabilities.

2004 – the couple welcomed a third daughter, Nancy, 18. 

2005 – They found themselves in court again on account of their other daughters and Stuebing was sentenced to two and a half years for re-committing incest. 

The couple’s fourth daughter, Sophia, now 17, was born.

Patrick was jailed for ten months for his second incest conviction and then for a further two and a half years after being convicted for the third time. 

When he was taken to jail, a tearful Susan told German newspapers she could not live without him. Stuebing threatened to kill himself.

2012 – After vowing to change Germany’s laws making sex between siblings illegal, they took their challenge to the Court of Human Rights. 

However they lost the case. The European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, France, ruled Germany was entitled to ban incest.

2014 – the German Ethics Council made a shocking u-turn and voted in favour of allowing incest between siblings. 

2022 – The couple continue their fight to make incest legal  

Poorly educated and barely able to write, Susan has previously spoken of being unloved and a burden to her mother.  

Six other brothers and sisters, some of whom were born with disabilities, died in childhood. 

One was run over and killed age seven.

Another mentally handicapped sister died age eight. 

When Stuebing was 18 he decided to find his biological parents. 

Four years later he tracked down his mother and discovered Susan. 

He moved in, and, astonishingly, Ana Marie allowed him to share her young daughter’s bedroom. 

Speaking about his relationship with the then-15-year-old in 2007, he said: ‘We both stayed up late into the night to talk to each other about our hopes and dreams.’

Six months later, Ana Marie died of a heart attack. Susan was close to one of her disabled brothers, Andre, but he died in the same year.

The then  teenager came to rely more and more on her brother.

In her own words: ‘Trust grew into a different type of love when our mother died six months later.’

Meanwhile he said: ‘I became head of the family and I had to protect my sister. 

‘She is very sensitive but we helped each other during this very difficult period and eventually that relationship became physical.’

The couple began sleeping together months later, and it was later revealed in court they had slept together sixteen times between January and August 2001. 

They rarely used protection.  

Despite already having experienced a normal relationship with a woman, he insisted: ‘We didn’t even know we were doing anything wrong when we started sleeping together.

‘We didn’t think about using a condom.

We didn’t know it was illegal to sleep together.

‘Our mother would not have approved, but the only ones who should judge us now is us.’

In October 2001, aged just 16, Susan gave birth to a baby boy, Erik. He was taken into care and now – aged twenty – can hardly walk or speak properly. 

Sarah, now 19, was born in 2003 and suffers similar disabilities. 

She was also taken into care, as was Nancy, nearly 18, who appears to be normal. Sophia, now 17, was born while Stuebing was in prison. 

Under the care of German social services, Susan tried to hide the pregnancy by wearing baggy clothes. 

She gave birth alone in the bath. Stuebing has since been sterilised in the mistaken belief that if he has no more children with his sister, he will evade jail. 

And yet both are apparently in denial about their children’s disabilities, despite expert opinion.

‘Two of our children are disabled,’ said Stuebing.

‘But that is not necessarily anything to do with the fact that we are siblings. 

‘There are other disabled people in our family. 

‘We had six brothers and sisters who did not survive in some cases because they were disabled.’ 

The pair were tried for incest in 2002. The district court in Leipzig heard how Stuebing ‘had only at the beginning bothered using condoms’. 

Stuebing received a year’s suspended jail term after being found guilty on all counts. Susan, then 17, was treated as a juvenile and placed into the care of youth services.

Stuebing, who has experienced other relationships with women, has insisted the pair ‘didn’t know they were doing anything wrong’ when they started having sex 

But after the birth of two more children, the court was not so lenient. Stuebing was eventually sentenced to ten months in prison.

They found themselves in court again in 2005 on account of their other daughters and Stuebing was sentenced to two and a half years for re-committing incest.

When he was taken to jail, a tearful Susan told German newspapers she could not live without him. Stuebing threatened to kill himself. Yet while the brother was locked up, the sister conceived a fifth child by another man.

Even so, upon Stuebing’s release, she gushed to German reporters: ‘I’m so happy Patrick is here and that I have him again. I need him.’

They found themselves in court in 2005 after having four children together, where Stuebing was sentenced to two and a half years for re-committing incest (pictured, Susan arriving at court with her daughter Sophia in her arms) 

When he was taken to jail, a tearful Susan told German newspapers she could not live without him. Stuebing also threatened to kill himself  (pictured) 

More than 13,000 people in the UK have been born out of ‘extreme inbreeding’ and the illegal incestuous trysts of close relatives, study claims 

Scientists believe that more than 13,000 people in the UK have DNA which indicates they are the result of ‘extreme inbreeding’.

Analysis of the UK Biobank data-bank by researchers at the University of Queensland in 2019 uncovered evidence of people with whose parents are considered to be first- or second-degree relatives.

This includes children created when parents and their offspring (first degree) have a child.

It also assessed children born from the intercourse of half-siblings (second degree).

The researchers say scaling up the research is difficult due to the limitations of the data-set, but claim the real number may be even higher than the extrapolated 13,200 figure from the paper.

People born out of such extreme inbreeding often suffer myriad health concerns, the researchers confirm.

This includes reduced lung function, fertility, cognitive function and a 44 per cent higher risk of all diseases.

According to the guidelines from the American College of Medical Genetics, extreme inbreeding can be suspected if over 10 per cent of the DNA sequence in an individual has runs of homozygosity.

Homozygosity is the term given to stretches of the genetic code that are identical, and therefore must have been inherited from both the mother, and the father.

If this is significantly higher than normal, it can indicate a person’s parents are closely related.

Extreme inbreeding (EI) is often defined as genome-wide homozygosity consistent with mating between first or second degree relatives.

This includes children created when parents and their offspring (first degree) have a child.

It also considers that of children born from the intercourse of half-siblings (second degree).

Stuebing in turn told the cameras: ‘I am doing well. I will always be there for Susan and the children.’

Meanwhile, the couple have even argued that they might not have had so many children if the first hadn’t been taken away. 

Stuebing said: ‘The younger children might not have been born had they not taken the first one from us. 

‘We just want to make sure that we don’t lose everything again.’ 

Meanwhile Stuebing said: ‘When you see your child being looked after by someone else when they should be with you, that’s hard for any parent to bear. 

‘So if he is handicapped, well, that is all the more reason we should be able to look after him.’

The couple have defended their relationship, with Susan saying: ‘We didn’t know each other in childhood.

‘It’s not the same for us. We fell in love as adults and our love is real. There is nothing we could do about it. 

‘We were both attracted to each other and then nature took over from us. 

‘It was that simple. What else could we do? 

‘We followed our instincts and our hearts.’ 

After vowing to change Germany’s laws making sex between siblings illegal, they took their challenge to the Court of Human Rights in 2012.

The case led to calls for Germany to join countries such as France, Turkey, Japan and Brazil in legalising sex between relatives. 

However they lost the case.  The European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, France, ruled Germany was entitled to ban incest.

Germany, as with most of the 47 Council of Europe member states, bans consensual sexual acts between adult siblings, the ECHR said.

It also said there was not enough evidence to suggest a possible trend of decriminalisation of such acts.

The ECHR said the German courts did not convict Karolewski because she has a personality disorder and was ‘only partially liable’ for her actions.

The main basis for Stuebing’s conviction, the ECHR said, was ‘the protection of marriage and the family’ because the couple’s behaviour blurred family roles.

It also noted ‘the risk of significant damage’ to children born of incest, which is banned partly because of the higher likelihood of disability.

However, in 2014 the German Ethics Council made a shocking u-turn and voted in favour of allowing incest between siblings.

They claimed the risk of disability was not enough to warrant the law after reviewing the couple’s case.

It is believed the couple are still living together in eastern Germany, where it still remains the law that incest between siblings is illegal.   

It is also illegal in the UK and punishable by life imprisonment.

After vowing to change Germany’s laws making sex between siblings illegal, they took their challenge to the Court of Human Rights in 2012 – and continue their fight to make their love legal 

How meeting a sibling as an adult can form ‘genetic sexual attraction’ and create an ‘overwhelming’ urge to be physical with a blood relative

In many countries, mating between close relatives is forbidden by law.

For example, mating between first- or second-degree relatives is explicitly prohibited by the Sexual Offences Act (2003) in the UK.

Nevertheless, law enforcement records in the UK and other countries show that it does occur.

These few cases are likely under-reported because of the social stigma attached to them, experts say.

Genetic sexual attraction is a seldom-talked about phenomenon that frequently occurs between adoptees and their long-lost parents. 

It  is defined as an overwhelming sexual attraction that may develop between close blood relatives who first meet as adults. 

It describes feelings of intense intimacy between two relatives who have been separated during the critical years of development and bonding, and then meet for the first time as adults.

Essentially strangers, when an adult-child and their biological parent finally meet, the brain struggles to associate each other as family.

Instead, they become captivated with one another, sharing similar physical features, likes and dislikes, which is coupled with complex feelings of intimacy. This can lead both parties to express their emotions sexually.

The phenomenon was first identified by Barbara Gonyo in the Eighties, after she a wrote book called I’m His Mother, But He’s Not My Son, which recounted her personal story of reuniting with the son she placed for adoption at 16.

A sexual relationship with her son ensued, and Ms Gonyo says she fell in love – a byproduct of delayed bonding that normally takes place in infancy between new parents and their child, according to psychologists.

Researchers believe that when family members grow up in close proximity, a inherent taboo is created through reverse sexual imprinting, which desensitises them to later sexual attraction.

Called the Westermarck effect, researchers hypothesize it evolved so biological relatives would not inbreed.

Genetic sexual attraction is said to be rare, but there have been dozens of reported cases of close relatives falling in love with each other after reconnecting as adults. 

It is difficult to quantify genetic sexual attraction since many of those who pursue a sexual relationship with a blood relative do not reveal it to adoption counsellors or psychiatrists.

As a consequence, mental health experts are not experienced in helping patients and often mistakenly confuse GSA with incest or sexual abuse, which can shame adoptees.  

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