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Pastor disciplined over village rape case

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Pastor disciplined over village rape case
07:23 CEST+02:00
The Church of Sweden pastor who welcomed a 15-year-old convicted rapist to the end of term celebrations in a high profile incident in Bjästa in northern Sweden, has been issued with a written caution by the diocese of Harnösand.

Lennart Kempe, who leapt to national attention after comments made in a Sveriges Television (SVT) documentary covering the story of a 14-year-old girl from a small Swedish community who was raped at her school only to be rejected by her friends and adult society when she reported the attack, has thus been cleared to continue working as a pastor.

The Uppdrag Granskning documentary aired in March and gained massive attention in Sweden, even drawing comments from prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

A storm of public outrage met the revelations that the 14-year-old girl from the small Swedish community was raped at her school only to be rejected by her friends and adult society when she reported the attack.

After news of the rape and the police report emerged, a campaign began which divided the community - with many of the girl's and boy's friends, school teachers, and parents questioning the validity of the girl's story.

Despite having admitted the offence, the 15-year-old boy was welcomed back in a vocal public demonstration held at an end of term awards ceremony in the local church that his victim had not felt able to attend.

Later that day Oskar joined up with his classmates to celebrate the end of term. During the evening the boy then carried out a second rape, of a 17-year-old girl.

Lennart Kempe explained in the programme his decision to welcome the boy.

"The church is open for all. There was an enormous demonstration. He had flowers with him... I thought it very courageous of him to have the strength to come here and do that," Kempe told SVT.

He later expressed regret over his comments.

A written caution is the mildest sanction available within the Church of Sweden disciplinary code.

in a statement explaining its decision the cathedral chapter said:

"Despite Lennart Kempe explanation of his statements and their background they clearly come across as naive and without forethought. His statements may be perceived to have a one-sided focus on the offender and display no compassion for the victim."

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