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Pope's former archdiocese: Convicted priest suspended

BERLIN - A German archdiocese that Pope Benedict XVI oversaw from 1977 to 1982 said yesterday that a priest convicted in 1986 of sexually abusing children has been suspended for violating a condition that he have no contact with minors.

The disclosure came as the church grapples with claims by about 300 Germans who have alleged this year that priests sexually or physically abused them in church-run boarding schools and other institutions.

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said it had suspended the priest, identified as Rev. H., after "it was proved he did not comply with the conditions set following allegations of sexually abusing minors and a conviction in the justice system." Prelate Josef Obermaier, who was responsible for assigning him to his current position, also resigned, the archdiocese said.

Pope Benedict XVI has not officially commented on the flood of allegations that priests sexually and physically abused minors in their care, and according to Archbishop Rino Fisichella he is expected to soon release a letter addressing similar claims in Ireland.

In Ireland yesterday, Cardinal Sean Brady said he would not resign unless the pope asked him to, despite admitting he helped the church collect evidence against a priest who molested scores of children in Ireland, Britain and the United States before his arrest in 1994.

The Munich archdiocese said its suspended priest had come from another German diocese in 1980. There he was to undergo therapy for "sexual relations with boys."- AP

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