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  • Pope defrocks retired German priest after drawn out proceedings

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    Pope Francis leads a Holy Mass for the Congolese community in Rome at Saint Peter's Basilica. Evandro Inetti/ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

    Pope Francis has defrocked a retired priest in relation to repeated cases of sexual abuse perpetrated from the 1980s to the early 1990s, the Trier diocese in western Germany announced on Monday.

    The unnamed priest did not face trial in a state court, as the offences were subject to the statute of limitations, but was found guilty in two sets of proceedings under canon law in an ecclesiastical court.

    The bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, ordered the priest’s dismissal from the clergy following the first proceedings in 2015. The priest then lodged an appeal, with the result that the sentence was reduced at the end of 2017 to a ban on exercising priestly duties.

    After additional allegations were made in the summer of 2019, the Trier diocese launched a second preliminary investigation, which again found the priest guilty.

    The pope has now finally defrocked the priest at the request of the congregation of the faithful, informing the parishes where he worked and the affected persons.

    In April this year, Pope Francis defrocked a retired Trier priest at the priest’s own request after he was found to have committed sexual abuse. The diocese numbers some 1.3 million Catholics in the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

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