Encourages National Church to Take Steps Against Sex Abuse - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Encourages National Church to Take Steps Against Sex Abuse

Published August 12, 2010

The daughter of a former bishop, with the support of the Feminist Society, has challenged the National Church to take steps to combat sexual abuse within its congregation. The chairman of a special council within the church that oversees sexual abuse cases refuses to disclose how many instances of sexual abuse have been reported against clergy.
Guðrún Ebba Ólafsdóttir, daughter of former bishop Ólafur Skúlason (who himself was found guilty of having sexually harassed a woman), wrote a letter to the current bishop, Karl Sigurbjörnsson, calling for the church to take additional measures to combat sexual abuse between clergy and the congregation. She urges the church to “come clean” and to confront instances of sexual abuse that have been committed within the walls of the church.
The Feminist Society of Iceland put its full support behind Guðrún Ebba. In a statement they made to the press, the group says in part that they “encourage the national church to take a clearer position against sexual abuse and take a more active part in the fight against it.” They add that clergy wield great power over the congregation, and that while grateful for the steps the church may have taken so far against sexual abuse, they encourage them to do more.
Gunnar Rúnar Matthíasson, head of a special committee within the church that oversees incidences of sexual abuse within the congregation, told the press that the church is fully aware of instances of sexual abuse, and has for a long time fought against it. He would not, however, disclose just how many instances of sexual abuse between clergy and members of the congregation have been reported, saying only that there has been more than one.

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