Disputes allegations, says they still prompted her decision to quit
The allegations against Kurschus revolve around an investigation into a local vicar in Siegen, a city in western Germany where she used to work. He’s accused of a pattern of sexually inappropriate conduct toward other men over years.
The local Siegener Zeitung newspaper reported that Kurschus was informed “in detail” about allegations against the man as early as the 1990s, citing two men who they said had submitted evidence under oath on the matter.
However, Kurschus said on Monday that she had at first only been aware of the man’s “homosexuality and unfaithfulness in marriage,” and that she first heard of an anonymous complaint against the individual in early 2023.
“Before that I had no knowledge of acts of sexualized violence by this person,” she said.
A spokesman for a victim support group, Detlev Zander, had over the weekend called for Kurschus to quit, saying her evasive comments on the issue were “damaging” for those in the protestant church who were “serious” in their desire to clear up the issue.
Although probably not as wide-ranging or renowned as the sexual abuse legacy facing the Catholic church in Germany and further afield, similar issues have also haunted Germany’s Protestant churches. The church set up a special council and study to investigate its past in recent years.
Kurschus becomes the third person to step down as the EKD’s top theologian. Famously, the first woman ever to hold the role, Margot Kässmann, also quit in 2010, just months after taking the job. She was caught running a red light drunk at the wheel of her company car.