First Female Lutheran Bishop Resigns Over Alleged Abuse Cover-Up

Maria Jepsen, the first female Lutheran bishop in history, resigned on Friday after nearly 18 years of service following allegations that she participated in a child sex abuse cover up.

The allegations surfaced last week in a news story published in Der Spiegel  magazine which reported that Jepsen allowed a pedophilic pastor in her diocese to have continued contact with young people for nearly a year after she was informed about his abuse record.

Jepsen, 65, was reportedly informed about the misconduct in 1999 by a victim who said that the pastor had abused her between 1979 and 1984.

According to Jepsen, the victim had only informed her about the "unworthy behavior" of the pastor at that time, and the precise nature of the abuse had only been made known to her this year, according to the UK Telegraph.

Despite a possible defense, however, Jepsen said that her credibility being called into question is reason enough to mandate her resignation.

"I am no longer in a position to continue the duty I promised to God and to my congregation when I was ordained and when I was elected as a bishop," Jepsen said during a press conference.

Jepsen was elected as the world's first Lutheran bishop in 1992 by the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church of Germany (EKD). She served in the northern diocese of Hamburg where she was had been re-elected in 2002 for a second 10-year term.

Her resignation follows that of Bishop Margot Kaessmann, the EKD's first female leader, who stepped down in February after a drunk-driving offense.

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