The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, July 16, 2010
Female Lutheran bishop resigns over abuse case; SNAP responds
Statement by Joelle Casteix, Western Regional Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434 cell, [email protected])
This case should remind us that both women and men can commit and conceal child sex crimes. Sadly, the Catholic hierarchy holds no monopoly over secrecy and recklessness regarding children's safety.
We hope others who were molested in Jepsen's diocese, and elsewhere, will come forward, call police, protect others and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected])
First woman Lutheran bishop resigns - By JUERGEN BAETZ (AP)
BERLIN — The first woman ever elected as a Lutheran bishop has resigned from her post in northern Germany amid allegations she failed to thoroughly investigate reports of a sexually abusive pastor.
Hamburg bishop Maria Jepsen said in a statement Friday that she was stepping down from her post after coming under fire for allegedly deciding not to take action on claims that a priest within her diocese was involved in sexual abuse.
"My credibility has been put in question," Jepsen said. "Consequently, I feel that I am no longer able to spread the good word, as I vowed to do at my ordination."
Jepsen, 65, was elected bishop of the Lutheran church in northern Germany in 1992, becoming the first woman worldwide to hold the post.
In recent months, she was charged with covering up for a priest in the northern town of Ahrensburg for years, despite allegations of his sexual abuse.
"I expect that the abuse cases in Ahrensburg and elsewhere will be swiftly investigated and that the truth will come to light," Jepsen said. She has insisted that she could not recall being told of the abuse.
During her tenure, Jepsen was frequently seen at anti-discrimination rallies and demonstrations and strongly supported the rights of the unemployed and homeless people.
Germany has been rocked by a widespread abuse scandal involving allegations of sexual and physical abuse of children by priests in both the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. Hundreds of people claiming abuse have come forward since January.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests