Vitus Huonder, the controversial Catholic bishop of Chur in eastern Switzerland, has reported a local priest to the authorities over alleged sexual offences.
The bishop acted after he received information about a “an alleged criminal offence of a sexual nature committed against an adult individual”, according to the websiteexternal link of the diocese, which reported the incident on Wednesday.
A criminal offence against a parish administrator who also served as the interim leader of a local parish was filed with the public prosecutor’s office in Graubünden.
Diocesan spokesperson Giuseppe Gracia declined to comment further on the incident when asked by the Swiss News Agency, SDA.
The priest had been arrested and taken into custody last week, Bruno Ulmi Stuppani, spokesperson of the local public prosecutor’s office, told SDA. The complaint filed by the Bishop of Church concerned “allegations of sexual offences”.
The individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Parish expressed surprise
The court of coercive measures approved a three-month detention for the priest - the maximum possible length. This is not unusual procedure, however, and does not indicate an increased level of threat, according to Ulmi.
The arrest of the parish administrator, who had been working for the local parish of Tujetsch for just over a year, was a surprise to his community. “It came as a total shock, we don’t know anything”, Arthur Caduff, president of the parish told the German-speaking newspaper Südostschweizexternal link.
In 2015, Bishop Huonder found himself at the centre of a media storm for quoting homophobic Bible passages. Previously, he also attracted criticism over opposing sex education in schools and women priests, and for believing that divine rights should come before human rights.