German priest found dead after suspension for abuse case

BERLIN — A Roman Catholic priest in Germany was found dead a day after being questioned and suspended as part of an investigation into abuse allegations, church officials said Friday.

The diocese of Limburg said in a statement that the head of its seminary was found dead on Thursday. It gave no details on his cause of death, but said the priest, who did not identify it, had had a responsible role within the diocese for several years.

The diocese said the priest’s death “hits us hard, causes consternation, bewilderment and raises many questions.”

“He was heard in a personal interview on Wednesday, June 8, about allegations of inappropriate conduct, as required by relevant church regulations,” the diocese said. “Bishop Georg Baetzing subsequently dismissed him from all office in order to investigate and clarify the allegations.”

The diocese added that its sympathy went to the priest’s family. “At the same time, our thoughts are also with those who reported the allegations,” it said without elaborating.

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