Monday 27 February 2017

Bishop accused of giving post to sex-abuse priest

Juergen Baetz in Berlin

GERMAN police are investigating allegations that the country's top Roman Catholic cleric was responsible in the 1980s for hiring a priest known to have sexually abused minors, a spokesman said yesterday.

The investigation of Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch is based solely on a complaint by a person who claims to have been abused, and the allegations haven't yet been scrutinised, Prosecutor Wolfgang Maier said. Dr Zollitsch also heads the German Bishops' Conference.

Archdiocese spokesman Robert Eberle rejected as baseless the allegation that he was an accessory to abuse of minors by omission.

"The archdiocese is in contact with prosecutors in Freiburg to swiftly prove the allegations' complete lack of substance," Mr Eberle said.

The complaint alleges that, in 1987, Dr Zollitsch -- then in charge of human resources at the Freiburg diocese -- was responsible for hiring a priest known to have sexually abused minors.

The archdiocese, however, says allegations of abuse dating back to the 1960s by the priest at a church in Birnau only surfaced in 2006.

Mr Eberle added that the church doesn't fall under the archdiocese's jurisdiction. The entire responsibility for the monastery -- including recruitment -- lies with another archdiocese, he said.

Irish Independent

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