A German priest accused of sexually abusing teenage boys has said the church should have had supervisors in homes.
The priest, writing in The Times of London, said the allegations against him were made four weeks ago and he was forced to leave his church. He is now living in a monastery and said he did not "dare show my face."
He wrote that he had gone "too far" while looking after about 30 boys, aged 13 to 16, during the early to mid-1980s.
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"None of us had a supervisor, we were alone with the boys. Today I would say that was a mistake, not to have had a person there to supervise us," the priest said in the article.
Describing what happened, he continued: "At 10.30 p.m. I always did a walkabout, to check if everything was in order. That was my downfall, this proximity to the pupils."
"So it happened, during my walkabouts, that for a while I sat on the bed of one of them if he happened to be awake. I talked to the boy, stroked the upper part of his body. And while doing so, sometimes, I kind of accidentally slipped deeper. It was not conscious, more like in passing," he added.
'Not so bad'
"Sometimes I even apologized, but I didn’t make a fuss, anyway I felt the boys did not take it very badly," he said. "It rather appeared to me as if it did them good that I cared for them. One said once: 'It is not so bad.'"
He said he had been granted leave from his church following the accusations, which were made on a hotline set up by his diocese. He has yet to be questioned.
"I don’t dare show my face where I used to live, I daren’t go on to the street. It’s not fellow priests I fear — they are very worried about me, though I expected they would blacklist me — it’s the public," he wrote.
"The caller accused me of sexual abuse. That’s a very common term nowadays, you can imply everything with it: coincidental contact, conscious contact, all sort of different sexual practices. I don’t yet know the period to which the allegations refer."
"Only years later did it occur to me that I had crossed the line. Most of us work until we reach 75. Where will I live in the future? I cannot go back. I left all my friends," he added.
The priest concluded: "Today I just sit, every day I sit, in the monastery, where they received me very generously. I read, I pray and I worry about the future. And in between I cry often."