Bishop of Augsburg Walter Mixa has written to Pope Benedict XVI and offered to resign following allegations he physically abused children. The bishop said he tendered his resignation in order to avert further damage to the Church.
The bishop is accused of abusing at least six children at an orphanage near Munich when he was a priest there in the 1970s and 1980s, the Irish Times reports.
Earlier this month he had issued a statement saying he had “never used physical violence in any form” against children.
He later said, “If the debate has turned to the question of slapping, I will honestly say that as a long-time teacher and priest dealing with very many youths, I cannot rule out the odd smack in the face 20 years ago.”
Four women who lived at the orphanage in their childhood have sworn in affidavits that Bishop Mixa hit them.
A man who also resided at the orphanage from 1972 to 1982 said he was given regular beatings on his bare buttocks with a carpet beater. According to the Irish Times, he said there were at least fifty incidents in which the future bishop hit him with a stick five to seven times on his bottom.
Bishop Mixa is also accused of financial misconduct.
The Diocese of Augsburg said that with the bishop’s resignation “he wants to avert further damage to the Church and to allow a new start.”