Friday, December 31, 2010

Female Lutheran bishop in Germany resigns over criticism of her handling of sexual abuse allegations

Another backlog item:

Not only are women not biblically qualified for positions of leadership in a church (see I Timothy 3:1-12), it seems as though they can be just as bad as men when it comes to covering up sexual abuse scandals. As reported by Agence France-Presse on July 17, 2010:

HAMBURG—The world's first female Lutheran bishop resigned Friday after abuse accusations in her northern German diocese of Hamburg, the latest casualty of a scandal to have rocked the church.

Maria Jepsen, 65, came under fire for bungling the case of a pastor accused of abusing young boys and girls in the 1970s and 1980s. She reportedly knew for several years about the case but failed to act.

"My credibility has been called into question," she said at a hastily convened press conference to explain her decision.

"Therefore, I am no longer in a position to continue the duty I promised to God and to my congregation when I was ordained and when I was elected as a bishop," added Jepsen.

According to German media reports, a 46-year-old woman said she had been the victim of repeated sexual abuse by the pastor between 1979 and 1984, abuse to which the pastor admitted when confronted by his superiors in the church.

But the abuse victim said she had revealed the abuse to Jepson as far back as 1999.

Jepsen has said she was only told about "unworthy behavior" by the pastor and only learned about the precise nature of the abuse this year.

Without reacting directly to the criticism against her, Jepsen on Friday called for abuse cases, in Ahrensburg and elsewhere, to be cleared up as quickly as possible.

In 1992, Jepsen became the first woman to be appointed as a Lutheran bishop and was elected to a second 10-year term in 2002.

The Protestant Church in Germany, which has about 25 million members, is still reeling from the shock resignation in February of its head, Margot Kaessmann, who was caught drunk behind the wheel.

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