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Married pastor on probation after sex with grieving mother

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09:30 CEST+02:00
A married Church of Sweden pastor in Skurup in southern Sweden has been put on probation after having sex with a woman in his congregation who was grieving her deceased son.

The Cathedral Chapter of the Diocese of Lund ruled on Wednesday that the actions of the 66-year-old male pastor were "unbefitting to his ordainment oath" and ordered that he be placed on probation for three years.

The incident in question dates back to 2002 when a female parishioner, who is in her sixties, lost her son, to whom she was very close.

To ease her grief the parishioner sought solace in the church and the help of the pastor to work through her loss.

She proceeded to develop a close contact with the pastor, who visited her home on several occasions.

But on one occasion the comfort afforded by the pastor turned to suggestions of sex and "intimate sexual contact" ensued.

The woman claims that they had sex on one other occasion, in 2004, and that she resisted the pastor's advances on several other occasions.

When the pastor made a further suggestion that they should have sex in October 2008, the parishioner decided to report the matter to the church.

In her report to the chapter alleging "sexual exploitation", the woman writes that she gave in to the pastor's advances. The woman later reproached herself for the incident and she felt feelings of regret, remorse and shame.

The parishioner explained that she would never have had the strength to report the matter in 2008 without the help of another pastor.

The pastor denied all allegations of "sexual exploitation" or that he had tried "to force himself on her sexually as she claims".

He also underlined that he was married.

In a hearing with the chapter on January 23rd, the pastor admitted to having had "intimate sexual contact" with the woman.

He later claimed that it was in fact he that had been sexually exploited and that the woman's complaint constituted a violation against him.

The chapter ruled on April 1st that the pastor should be placed under probation for a period of three years and recommended that if he "were to again demonstrate his unsuitability for his post, he should be disqualified."

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