Monday, May 30, 2011

Sex Abuse Rocks Lutheran Church in Germany

Editor: Last year, the world's first female Lutheran Bishop, Maria Jepsen, was forced to resign under suspicion that she had covered up abuse. The case received almost no coverage in the English speaking press at all

North Elba Lutheran Church struggles with accusations of covering up a serious case of sexual abuse.

Ahrensburg ( In connection with the most serious case of sexual abuse in the North Elba Church, Heidi Emse the former Provost is defending herself against accusations that she had covered it up. She became aware of occurrences in the Church Community of Ahrensburg near Hamburg in 1999. From the seventies to the eighties, former Pastor Gert-Dietrich Kohl (73) had admitted to committing the crime in the meantime against 22 children and adolescents, among whom were three of his five stepsons. The crimes have passed the statute of limitations.

The president of the North Elba Church, Bishop Gerhard Ulrich (Schleswig)conceded a lapse in supervision, actually the church leadership followed the direction of their consultants, to introduce disciplinary action against Emse. This will now make certain that things will in no way be veiled. In retrospect they are viewing this solely as negligence, that the procedure had not been properly documented. They had been informed by the church office by telephone in 1999 about the suspicion before her time in office about the child abuse. Kohl was then reassigned. She's explained that it was dealt with administratively. A year later she learned that he was working in juvenile law enforcement. Thereupon she applied to the church office. Then Kohl was put on early retirement. Taking this into consideration, the Ahrensburger Church Board had expressed confusion about the decision of the Church leadership being directed against Emse. This could have been done with greater clarity.

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