German bishop who resigned cleared of sex abuse allegation

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14 May 2010

A German bishop who recently resigned after admitting he beat children at a Catholic orphanage has been cleared of sexual abuse allegations, investigators said on Friday.

Prosecutors had opened a preliminary investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Walter Mixa, whose resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday.

But prosecutors in Ingolstadt in the country’s south announced Friday they had halted the investigation against the 69-year-old just one week after confirming it had begun.

Local daily Augsburger Allgemeine reported a week ago that the investigation involved the alleged abuse of a boy while Mixa was bishop of Eichstaett between 1996 and 2005.

Prosecutors opened the probe after the Church reported the allegation to them, according to the report.

Mixa, who has reportedly retired to a clinic in Switzerland, at first rebuffed allegations that he beat children at the Schrobenhausen orphanage between 1975 and 1996 in the face of several sworn statements from his accusers.

But he tendered his resignation to Benedict after admitting giving youngsters in his care “a slap in the face or two”, which he said was “completely normal back then”.

Along with other European countries and the United States, the pope’s native Germany has been rocked by revelations that children were physically and sexually abused in institutions, the vast majority run by the Roman Catholic Church.

© 2010 AFP

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