German Bishop Admits Sexual Abuse

A German-born bishop who headed a prelature in Norway admitted that his resignation last year was linked to the sexual abuse of a minor. Bishop Georg Muller, 58, submitted a request to step down as prelate of Trondheim, Norway, in May 2009 and Pope Benedict XVI "quickly accepted" the request June 8, according to a Vatican press release. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican press office, released a written statement April 7 confirming that in January 2009 church authorities had become aware that Bishop Muller, a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, was accused of sexually abusing a minor in the early 1990s. "The issue was rapidly taken up and examined through the nunciature of Stockholm [Sweden] by mandate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," wrote Father Lombardi. After the pope accepted Bishop Muller's resignation, the bishop "underwent a period of therapy and no longer carries out pastoral activity," he wrote. The statute of limitations had expired under Norwegian law and the victim, who is now in his 30s, has asked to remain anonymous, Father Lombardi added. Bishop Muller, who headed the prelature from 1997 to 2009, recently admitted to sexually abusing a minor 20 years ago while he was a priest in Trondheim, according to a statement April 6 from by Bishop Bernt Eidsvig of Oslo, who has served as apostolic administrator of Trondheim since Bishop Muller's retirement.

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