Catholic Church Confirms Child Abuse in Iceland

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Catholic Church Confirms Child Abuse in Iceland

The investigative commission of the Catholic Church in Iceland presented its report on Friday, confirming that Rev. Ágúst Georg, principal of the church-run elementary school Landakotsskóli, and one of its teachers, Margrét Müller, abused their pupils.

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Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The commission questioned 30 of the school’s former pupils and people who had joined the Catholic Church’s summer camps as children. Eight of them stated they had been sexually abused and 27 that they had been subject to or witnessed mental abuse, ruv.is reports.

Hjördís Hákonardóttir, who chairs the commission, said the report is a serious blow to the reputation of the Catholic Church in Iceland.

It reveals that Joannes Gijsen, who served as Bishop of the Catholic Church in Iceland 1996-2007, destroyed a letter from a man who described how he was abused by Rev. Georg, ruv.is reports.

In doing so, the commission considers Gijsen to have failed his obligations; he should have launched an independent investigation by specialists into the matter.

In a written statement to the commission, Gijsen explained that at the time he had talked the matter through with the man who sent the letter.

Gijsen stated that the man had written that he believed Rev. Georg had sought a sexual relationship with him but that he wasn’t sure. They had therefore jointly decided to drop the case and destroy the letter.

In 2010, Gijsen was accused of sexual violations while teaching at a school of the Catholic Church in Holland in the 1950s and 1960s. He has denied all accusations.

Click here to read more news about the Catholic Church in Iceland.

ESA