Annette Kurschus says she is stepping down ‘to forestall harm 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, stated on Monday that she had no data of the alleged abuse on the time however would step all the way down to “stop harm to my church”.
“At each second, I acted to the very best of my data and my conscience,” Kurschus stated at a press convention saying her resignation. “However public belief in my individual has been broken.”
The 60-year-old theologian has been dogged by media studies that she was knowledgeable “intimately” of allegations of sexual abuse towards 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 stated 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 details, cowl up details and even cowl up for an accused individual,” she stated.
Anna-Nicole Heinrich, who heads the Protestant Church’s synod, stated 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 towards clergy, German Protestant establishments, which signify 19 million folks, 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 towards 3,677 minors from 1946 to 2014.
The true variety of victims is regarded as a lot larger.
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 had been underneath 14.
The Catholic Church’s payouts for victims of abuse in Germany had 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 had been authorized.