Church of Sweden pastor accused of rape

A 60-year-old Church of Sweden pastor faces a remand hearing this Friday for the alleged sexual abuse of two children during an overseas trip with a group of candidates for confirmation.

The pastor is suspected of three sex offences carried out over the course of the confirmation group’s trip to a major European city in October. Friday’s remand hearing at Varberg district court will determine whether the public prosecutor’s case is sufficiently strong to warrant detaining the cleric in custody for one charge of child rape and two of child sexual abuse.

As of Thursday, the pastor remained active at his post in Halland in western Sweden. He has however been removed from all assignments involving children since the suspicions against him came to light this week, according to Lasse Bengtsson, a spokesman for the Diocese of Gothenburg.

Public prosecutor Klas Lundgren confirmed that there were two alleged victims but was reluctant to divulge any further information pertaining to the case.

Lundgren added that the priest was likely to offend again if the court chose to release him. The prosecutor stated that he also wished to see the pastor held in custody as a means of preventing him from hindering the investigation or destroying evidence relating to the case.