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Austrian archabbot admits abuse, resigns

March 10, 2010

The head of the oldest monastery in the German-speaking world resigned on March 8 after admitting abusing a boy four decades ago.

Archabbot George Becker of St. Peter’s Archabbey in Salzburg was 24 years old and not yet ordained a priest when he found out that two monks had abused a boy. The future archabbot then conversed with the boy and molested him.

In May 2009, Archbishop Alois Kothgasser of Salzburg consecrated Becker as the monastery’s 87th abbot since its founding in 696. In November, Archabbot Becker apologized to the victim, who was subsequently offered 5,000 euros.

The Benedictine archabbot’s resignation comes on the heels of an admission by Cistercian Abbot Anselm van der Linde of Wettingen-Mehrerau that a monk at the abbey had abused a boy in the 1980s and that another monk had abused a young male drug abuser in 2001. Abbot van der Linde, who was consecrated abbot last year and is only 38, was not involved in the abuse.


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