Statue of late cardinal accused of sexual abuse removed

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A statue of a deceased German cardinal was removed from its perch outside Essen Cathedral in western Germany on Monday, days after allegations of sexual abuse decades ago became public.

The accusations against Cardinal Franz Hengsbach, who died in 1991, added to a long-running scandal over abuse by clergy that has shaken the German church.Last week, the Essen diocese said there were suspicions that Hengsbach may have abused a 16-year-old girl in the 1950s when he was an auxiliary bishop in nearby Paderborn, and that a woman had also accused him of abusing her in 1967 when he was bishop of Essen – a job that he held for 33 years.

In a letter to parishes released on Friday, current Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck apologised for his mistakes in handling the allegations.AP

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