Priest on Sex Abuse: 'I Went Too Far'

German blames lack of supervision, 'proximity to pupils'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2010 7:12 AM CDT
Roman Catholics listen to Bishop Noel Treanor during mass at St Peter's Roman Catholic Cathedral in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sunday, March, 21, 2010.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

(Newser) – As a wave of sex abuse threatens to engulf Pope Benedict's papacy, a German priest "granted leave" a month ago takes the issue head on: "I know that I had some contact with pupils where I went too far, and which I do not approve of today." In an op-ed piece for the Times of London he wrote from a monastery because "I don't dare show my face" in his parish, the priest blames lack of supervision and "proximity to pupils."

On nightly checks of the 30 boys under his watch during in the '80s, the priest says he would sometimes sit on a boy's bed, stroke "the upper part of his body," and "kind of accidentally (slip) deeper." And though "sometimes I even apologized," he writes that "only years later did it occur to me that I had crossed the line." But the cleric begins and ends with self-concern: "Where will I live in the future? I cannot go back. Today I just read, I pray and I worry about the future. And in between I cry often."

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