Germany: Protestant church head Annette Kurschus resigns over sexual abuse cover-up

Evangelical Church in Germany’s (EKD) chairperson Annette Kurschus stepped down from the post on Monday (Nov 20) over recent reports of her knowing about alleged sexual abuse by a church employee years ago. Kurschus said that the reports were unfounded. “In this matter I am at ease with myself. At every moment I acted to the best of my knowledge and my conscience,” she told reporters.

Kurschus also said that the decision to step down was not easy, adding she could no longer help the church’s work dealing with historical cases of sexual abuse. Apart from stepping down as EKD chairperson, Kurschus also resigned as president of the Westphalian regional church, a position she served in since 2012. 

Local media quoted the testimony of two men who claimed to have told Kurschus about the abuse allegations in the 1990s. At the start of this year, an anonymous complaint was received against the accused, and Kurschus said that before this, she had “no knowledge of acts of sexualized violence by this person.” She also promised that the case would be investigated independently.

Kurschus becomes the third person to step down as the EKD’s top theologian. The first woman to hold this position- Margot Kässmann, also quit in 2010, just months after taking the job. She was caught running a red light drunk at the wheel of her company car. 

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