Paedophilia priest suspended in pope´s old diocese
2010-03-16 0:00


A priest housed with the current pope´s approval in 1980 while under suspicion of paedophilia and convicted six years later has been suspended from duty, the pontiff´s former diocese said.

The priest, named only as Peter H., 62, "was banned from working with children and young people. He broke this restriction," the diocese of Munich and Freising in southern Germany said in a statement late Monday.

There were no further allegations of abuse, the statement added.
Josef Obermaier, a senior priest charged with overseeing Peter H., also resigned.

The priest was transferred to the diocese in 1980 from the western city of Essen where he had been reportedly accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy.

"I was 11 ... He gave me Bacardi and Coke, then he took off his trousers and forced me into oral sex," the Bild mass-circulation daily quoted the alleged victim, Wilfried Fesselmann, now 41, as saying.

The archbishop of Munich and Freising at the time, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, approved giving the priest Church housing for "therapy", the diocese said on Friday.

Two years later, by which time the pope had been transferred to the Vatican, H. was given pastoral duties in a Bavarian town and in 1986 was given a suspended jail sentence for sexually abusing children.
But he remained within the Church.

Pope Benedict has spoken out several times since the start of his papacy in 2005 on child sex abuse, describing it last month as a "heinous crime" and a "grave sin".

But he has come under fire because he has not yet commented directly on his native Germany, critics say.

Since the first revelations of abuse dating back to the 1970s and 1980s at an elite Jesuit school in Berlin emerged in January, former victims have alleged abuse at two-thirds of Germany´s 27 dioceses.

In a further revelation, a monastery in St Ottilien in southern Germany acknowledged on Monday that several monks, now dead, had admitted to acts of abuse in the 1960s. It appealed for victims to come forward.

Victims have been "relieved and even healed when their case is finally discussed, even decades after the abuse and decades of painful silence," the monastery said.


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