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Late German cardinal accused of abuse

September 20, 2023

» Continue to this story on Deutsche Welle

CWN Editor's Note: Cardinal Franz Hengsbach (1910-1991), who served as auxiliary bishop of Paderborn (1953-1957) and bishop of Essen (1958-1988), has been accused of sexual abuse in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 2011, the late prelate was accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in 1954. According to the report, the Archdiocese of Paderborn and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then under the leadership of Cardinal William Levada, deemed the allegation implausible.

In 2022, the late prelate was accused of committing sexual abuse in 1967; a third allegation has been lodged. The two German dioceses have launched separate investigations, and officials of the Archdiocese of Paderborn said its own 2011 investigation was “clearly questionable.”

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