Bishop Sorry about Letting Abuse Victim Down

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Bishop Sorry about Letting Abuse Victim Down

The Office of the Bishop of Iceland issued a statement yesterday following the interview with Gudrún Ebba Ólafsdóttir, the daughter of late Bishop Ólafur Skúlason, by whom she was abused, on national broadcaster RÚV on Sunday, saying they regret that her reporting of the abuse was not responded to immediately.

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Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Current Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson, to whom Ólafsdóttir had turned, has not been willing to answer the questions of journalists, neither before nor after the statement was issued, Fréttabladid reports.

The statement says that the interview stirred up feelings of great grief and anger among the public, along with admiration for Ólafsdóttir’s bravery, dignity and stoicism.

“We are all going through a painful learning process. It is a matter of regret that Gudrún Ebba’s report to the Church Council in 2009 was not replied to in writing immediately and the bishop has apologized for that publicly, privately and in writing. However, it should be pointed out that the mistakes made in responding to her report did not impact how her case was treated,” the statement reads.

It is signed by Sigurbjörnsson, suffragan bishops at Hólar and Skálholt Jón Adalsteinn Baldvinsson and Kristján Valur Ingólfsson.

Ingólfsson wouldn’t comment further on the case. “As I represent the Bishop’s Office I feel that I shouldn’t express my views on this matter given that the bishop of Iceland has chosen only to do so through a press release,” he said.

“These cases are going through a process. I don’t think it’s timely that I comment on them any further,” he added, referring to the cases of other women who have also reported Skúlason’s abuse towards them.

When asked whether Sigurbjörnsson should resign, Ingólfsson responded, “The bishop shouldn’t resign for what Ólafur Skúlason has done.”

Fréttabladid was unable to reach Baldvinsson to comment on this story.

Click here to read more about these cases of abuse.

ESA