Schäfer's story is so over the top and bizarre it's hard to convey without sounding made up. Long story short, he founded the Colonia Dignidad in 1961 after he was forced to flee his native Germany due to child molestation charges against him. The colony became a utopian German enclave isolated from the rest of Chilean society. It's members, known as colonos, dressed in traditional bavarian peasant garbs (no joke) and were completely beholden to Schäfer's rule.
Rumors of strange happenings, including rampant child abuse, have been common throughout the colony's history but it became most infamous during the Pinochet dictatorship. Schäfer gave the DINA (Pinochet's secret police) access to the colony's facilities to torture and murder political dissidents. According to victims who claim to have been tortured in the colony, Schäfer himself sometimes participated in the torturing and even trained the DINA in interrogation techniques.
At the time of his death, last saturday, Schäfer was serving a 20-year sentence for child molestation. However, charges related to kidnappings, arms trafficking and human rights abuses were pending. To this president Sebastian Piñera commented:
"The death of Paul Schäfer prevents the continuation of penal prosecution, because there isn't penal persecution in this world for the dead. However, we all know that there's a justice that never ends, and that's divine justice."Well put. And this is certainly one of those times when I wish I believed in divine justice.