18 Jul 2010

German bishop resigns over handling of sex abuse case

8:10 am on 18 July 2010

The first woman elected as a Lutheran bishop has resigned from her post in northern Germany amid allegations she failed to thoroughly investigate reports of a sexually abusive pastor.

Maria Jepsen denies having known before May this year about a priest in the town of Ahrensburg who reportedly sexually abused boys and girls in the 1980s.

She has stepped down saying her credibility had been contested.

Several cases in Germany form part of sex abuse scandals that have hit the Roman Catholic Church recently, the BBC reports.

Maria Jepsen was elected bishop in 1992, becoming the first woman worldwide to hold the post.