A Catholic priest in Germany has been found dead a day after he was questioned and suspended as part of a probe into abuse allegations, church officials said Friday.

The 49-year-old priest’s death was confirmed in a statement by the Diocese of Limburg.

Summoned to ‘clarify’ after allegations

The priest had been summoned by Bishop Georg Bätzing on Wednesday in relation to the allegations and had been temporarily relieved of his Church duties.

“The events have shocked us in the Diocese of Limburg and far beyond,” the diocese said. “The death has hit us very hard, caused dismay and bewilderment and leaves us with many questions.”

“He had been heard in a personal interview on Wednesday, June 8, regarding allegations of inappropriate behavior, as required by the relevant church regulations. Bishop Georg Bätzing subsequently released him from all offices in order to be able to examine and clarify the accusations.”

Cause of death unknown

The diocese expressed its condolences to the family of the priest, but added that “at the same time, our thoughts are also with those who reported the allegations.”

The priest from the Westerwald region has held office within the diocese for many years. He led its seminary from 2018 onward.

The details surrounding May’s death were not provided by the diocese.

jsi/rs (AP, KNA, dpa)


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