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Europe gripped by Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal

world Updated: Mar 26, 2010 00:55 IST
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The fallout from the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church settled across Europe on Wednesday, as prosecutors said they were weighing criminal charges against a priest suspected of molesting children in Germany, and Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of a bishop accused of mishandling allegations of abuse in Ireland.

The possibility of criminal charges emerged from new accusations against a priest at the centre of the child-molesting scandal rocking the church in Germany.

On Wednesday, church officials in Munich said the priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann — whose transfer in 1980 to an archdiocese led at the time by Benedict, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, has drawn the pope himself into the nation’s child abuse controversy — had been accused of molesting a minor as recently as 1998.

The latest revelation comes as church officials in northern Germany say they have “credible evidence” of at least two other cases of sexual abuse committed by Father Hullermann in the 1970s, adding to a trail of accusations that suggest a pattern of abuse over two decades.