A Catholic priest employed by the diocese in Oslo has been defrocked and charged with assault after admitting to having had sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl in Bergen. Oslo Bishop Bernt Eidsvig went public with the case on Tuesday, despite objections from police in Bergen.
“We’ve been criticized by the police for reporting this, but it was already known in Bergen,” Eidsvig said. He said he wanted to avoid speculation or accusations that the Catholic Church in Norway was withholding information on the case. The police, however, would have preferred to launch their own investigation before the case became known.
Eidsvig told reporters that the relation between the priest and the teenager went on for around a week this past summer. The girl, who is not Catholic, later reported it to another priest who immediately contacted Eidsvig. He told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that he flew to Bergen the next day, where the priest now charged with assault confessed.
It’s the latest in a string of cases involving assault within the Catholic Church worldwide, but Eidsvig said it’s the first he’s aware of in Oslo. Three years ago, a former bishop in Trondheim admitted sexual assault against an alter boy years earlier, though, and the church has an archive of other cases deemed “sensitive.”
Eidsvig said the priest charged now “will never work as a priest again,” but that the church was helping him secure “a good lawyer” and possible medical help.