German Protestant Church embroiled in sexual abuse scandal

German Protestant Church embroiled in sexual abuse scandal
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The German Protestant Church is embroiled in a scandal of sexual abuse and its highest official resigned this Monday, accused of having covered up a case that dates back to the 1990s.

According to the German newspaper Siegener Zeitung, Annette Kurschusthe highest official of this institution, is accused of having been aware in the 1990s of allegations of abuse against a vicar of the ecclesiastical district of Siegen, but that she did not take any action.

The suspect is being investigated by police.

The 60-year-old theologian denied that she had knowledge of the abuses, but stated that she decided to resign "to prevent (the image of) her Church from being damaged."

"Suspicions fall on a man whose family I have been friends with for a long time," he declared during a press conference in Bielefeld (north).

Kurschus He indicated that he knew of "the homosexuality" of the accused, that he is married to a woman and was aware "of his infidelities." She added that she tried to protect the family, but was criticized for "lack of transparency".

It is even more bitter because I never, and I emphasize it, never intended to evade my responsibility, hide important facts, cover up facts or even cover up an accused person," he insisted.

"I would have liked, 25 years ago, to be so attentive, educated and sensitive to the behavioral problems that would draw my attention today," she added.

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At the time of the events, Kurschus She was a shepherdess in Siegen. According to the local newspaper Siegener Zeitunga victim and three other people informed him of the accusations against the religious who worked in the same place.

Decrease in the number of faithful

Annette Kurschus is the second woman to hold the position of leader of the German Protestant Church. The president of the synod of the German Protestant Church, Anna-Nicole Heinrich, welcomed her resignation "with respect."

This demonstrates the importance that within the Protestant Church is given to actions against sexual violence," he estimated.

With 20 million faithful, the Protestant church It represents the second confession in Germany, behind Catholics (about 22 million).

Both have been facing a decline in the number of faithful for years.

The German Catholic Church It has been in chaos for years due to allegations of sexual abuse, but until now the Protestant Church had hardly been affected.

A study commissioned by the German Episcopal Conference in 2018 concluded that 1,670 Catholic clergy in the country had committed some type of sexual assault against 3,677 minors between 1946 and 2014, although the actual number of victims is believed to be much higher.

The Catholic Church's compensation for abuse victims in Germany increased from 5,000 euros to up to 50,000 ($54,600) in 2020, but associations say the sum remains insufficient.

Payments worth 28 million euros ($30.5 million) were approved last year alone.

The president of the assembly of German archbishops, Georg Batzing, regretted the resignation of Annette Kurschus. Without wanting or being able to judge the reasons for this resignation, she considered that "ecumenism in Germany was losing an essential driving force."


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