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German diocese suspends convicted sex abuser

BERLIN — A German archdiocese that Pope Benedict XVI oversaw from 1977 to 1982 said Monday that a priest convicted in 1986 of sexually abusing children has been suspended for violating a condition that he have no contact with minors.

The disclosure came as the church is grappling with claims by about 300 Germans who have alleged this year that priests sexually or physically abused them in church-run boarding schools and other institutions.

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said in a statement Monday that it had removed the German priest, identified only as Rev. H., from his duties after "it was proved he did not comply with the conditions set following allegations of sexually abusing minors and a conviction in the justice system."

Prelate Josef Obermaier, who was responsible for assigning the pastor to his current position, also resigned, the archdiocese said.

Pope Benedict XVI has not officially commented on the flood of allegations that priests sexually and physically abused minors, and according to Archbishop Rino Fisichella he is expected to soon release a letter addressing similar claims in Ireland.

In Ireland on Monday, Cardinal Sean Brady said he would not resign unless the pope asked him to, despite admitting that he helped the church collect evidence against a priest who molested scores of children in Ireland, Britain and the United States before his arrest in 1994.

According to the Archdioceses of Munich and Freising, the suspended German priest had been transferred to Munich from another German diocese in 1980. There the priest was to undergo therapy for "sexual relations with boys," the archdiocese said.

Despite the knowledge of his background as a pedophile, the priest was sent two years later to work in parish in Grafing. He was suspended in early 1985 following new accusations of sexual abuse, for which he was convicted the following year.

The archdiocese said there had been no fresh complaints against him since his 1986 conviction, but that "he was forbidden from any work with children and youth."

Following his conviction, the priest was sent in 1987 to work in a nursing home, then held administrative jobs until 2008, when he was sent to work primarily with visitors as part of a parish in a Bavarian spa town.

The pope served as archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977- 82, before being called to the Vatican. He became the pope in 2005.

German diocese suspends convicted sex abuser 03/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 15, 2010 11:18pm]
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