German Priest Close to Pope Is Suspended in Abuse Case
By NICHOLAS KULISH
MUNICH — The priest at the center of a German sex-abuse scandal that has embroiled Pope Benedict XVI was suspended Monday, more than 30 years after the church first heard allegations that he had molested children.
The priest, Peter Hullermann, was suspended after church officials acknowledged in a statement on Friday that he had continued working with children even after being forbidden in 2008. His supervisor, Prelate Josef Obermaier, resigned, according to the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.
In 1980, Benedict, then archbishop there, approved Father Hullermann’s move to Munich after he was accused of sexually abusing boys in the Diocese of Essen, though on Friday a deputy took full responsibility for allowing the priest to return to full pastoral duties shortly thereafter. Father Hullermann was convicted of sexually abusing children in the Bavarian town of Grafing in June 1986 by a district court in nearby Ebersberg, church officials said Friday.
Hundreds of victims have come forward in recent months in Germany with accounts of sexual and other physical abuse from decades past. But no case has captured the attention of the nation like that of Father Hullermann, because of the involvement of the future pope, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, but also because of the impunity that allowed a child molester to continue to work with altar boys and girls for decades after his conviction...more...