No remand of accused Church of Sweden pastor
TT/The Local · 19 Dec 2009, 09:36
Published: 19 Dec 2009 09:36 GMT+01:00
On Friday, a court in western Sweden elected not to remand the 60-year-old Church of Sweden pastor accused sexually abusing two minor boys during an overseas trip with a group of candidates for confirmation.
On Friday, Varberg District Court (Varbergs tingsrätt) in western Sweden elected not to remand the 60-year-old Church of Sweden pastor accused sexually abusing two minor boys during an overseas trip with a group of candidates for confirmation.
“I am completely innocent; everyone who knows me knows that this (accusation) isn’t true,” the pastor told TT news agency.
The pastor claims the alleged victims made up the incident, Lasse Bengtsson, a spokesman for the Diocese of Gothenburg, told TT. Bengtsson further reported that the pastor has had a clean record during the 31 years he has been employed by the Church of Sweden.
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. He was not the only adult on the trip.
“We have received no indication that the other adults on the trip witnessed anything out of order,“ Bengtsson said.
The pastor has remained active at his post in Halland since the accusation but has been removed from all assignments involving children and young people, Bengtsson said.
Suspicions against the man remain, according to public prosecutor Klas Lundgren, who has three weeks from Friday to appeal the decision.
The Church of Sweden may still pursue disciplinary action against the 60-year-old regardless of the outcome of the legal proceedings. “Even if he is found innocent, the church may find that he behaved immorally and he can be censured. But first we want to allow the legal system to run its course,” Bengtsson said.