Sexual harassment Vatican official resigns

Sexual harassment: Vatican official resigns

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Father Geissler is accused by a former German nun of having been too urgent in a confessional. He denies.
A senior Vatican official, accused by a former German nun of having been too urgent in a confessional, announced his resignation, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the Holy See.

Austrian father Hermann Geissler handed over his resignation to the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which guarantees questions on Catholic dogma but also deals with cases on sexual abuse of the clergy. He was one of the three bureau chiefs of the CDF.

“Father Geissler made this decision to limit the damage already done to the Congregation and its community,” the CDF said in its statement. “He asserts that the charge against him is false” and “reserves the right to initiate a possible civil suit”.

Warned in 2014

At the end of a canonical trial already completed, Father Geissler had received in 2014 a simple warning for having been more than pressing a young nun, had reported in early December the daily La Croix. At the time, he had acknowledged the facts, according to the newspaper.

Doris Wagner, a 34-year-old German philosopher and theologian, recently told Rome about the assaults and other abuses she suffered during eight years of religious life. She had broadcast the video of her intervention on social networks. The German nun had first denounced a rape, committed by a priest in 2008, with the superior of his community in Rome.

She was then pressured by another priest who asked to be his confessor, in this case Father Geissler. “He kept me for hours, kneeling before him, he told me that he loved me and that he knew that I loved him and that even if we could not get married, there were other ways”, she said.

“He tried to kiss me”

One day, “he tried to hug me and kiss me, I panicked and ran away,” she said. When she asked to change her confessor, her superior said she knew that this priest had a “penchant” for young women.

In 2012, after abandoning religious life, she denounced the two priests before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His rapist, who worked at the Holy See’s State Secretariat, was fired from the Vatican, but remains a priest in a community where “many young nuns live,” denounced Doris Wagner.

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