Annette Kurschus says she is stepping down ‘to stop injury to my church’.
The pinnacle of the Protestant Church in Germany has resigned amid accusations she turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual assault at a church she pastored within the Nineteen Nineties.
Annette Kurschus, a senior theologian who led Germany’s largest Protestant federation, mentioned on Monday that she had no information of the alleged abuse on the time however would step right down to “forestall injury to my church”.
“At each second, I acted to the most effective of my information and my conscience,” Kurschus mentioned at a press convention asserting her resignation. “However public belief in my individual has been broken.”
The 60-year-old theologian has been dogged by media stories that she was knowledgeable “intimately” of allegations of sexual abuse in opposition to a church colleague within the Nineteen Nineties and took no motion.
The colleague — who served as a vicar within the church district of Siegen, the place Kurschus labored — is now being investigated by police.
Kurschus mentioned she had been aware of the person’s “homosexuality and unfaithfulness in marriage” on the time however heard allegations of sexual abuse solely this yr.
“I’ve by no means – and I stress this – by no means sought to shirk my accountability, withhold vital information, cowl up information and even cowl up for an accused individual,” she mentioned.
Anna-Nicole Heinrich, who heads the Protestant Church’s synod, mentioned Kurschus’s resignation “reveals the significance positioned by the church on agency motion on the difficulty of sexual violence”.
Historical past of abuse
Whereas the Catholic Church has for years been rocked by sexual assault allegations in opposition to clergy, German Protestant establishments, which characterize 19 million individuals, have confronted little scrutiny.
A research commissioned by the German Bishops’ Convention in 2018 concluded that 1,670 Catholic clergymen within the nation had dedicated some type of sexual assaults in opposition to 3,677 minors from 1946 to 2014.
The true variety of victims is regarded as a lot greater.
An 800-page report on simply the Cologne diocese, launched in 2021, discovered 202 alleged perpetrators of sexual assault and 314 victims from 1975 to 2018. Greater than half of the victims have been beneath 14.
The Catholic Church’s payouts for victims of abuse in Germany have been elevated in 2020 to as much as 50,000 euros ($54,600), from about 5,000 euros ($5,460) beforehand, however campaigners say the sum continues to be insufficient.
Final yr alone, about 28 million euros ($30m) in funds have been accredited.