Despite knowing of the allegations against his closest colleague and protests from women in the diocese, Aurelius awarded the dean an honorary position only a couple of months ago, Göteborgs Posten reports.
Three of the allegations date back 25-30 years and involve teenage girls. Aurelius has previously admitted to knowing of one of the allegations for several years. Two further allegations came to his knowledge only a few weeks ago. Aurelius explains that the incidents have not been reported to the police as the statute of limitations had expired.
In an interview with Göteborgs Posten Aurelius is reported to have admitted to knowledge of a fourth, hitherto unknown, incident involving a woman who claims to have been felt up while bending over a photocopier. Aurelius admits to GP that he knew of the photocopier incident when he assumed his post in August 2003.
Despite this incident occurring in 2001, well within the statute of limitations, Aurelius chose not to report the incident to the police.
“I didn’t think that there was sufficient substance to the allegations to do anything drastic. I had two versions of the 2001 incident,” Aurelius explained to Göteborgs Posten.
The naming of the disgraced dean to the post of ‘kontraktsprost’, considered to be an honorary task, was met with a storm of protests from within the diocese. Despite knowledge of the sexual harassment allegations and the protests, Aurelius considered the dean to be a suitable candidate.
Bishop Aurelius defends his judgment saying, “I presumed that they were angry at him. But I have had a lot of faith in him, have been dependent on him not least as a newcomer to Gothenburg, a friendship has also developed between us.”
The disgraced dean’s resignation included no admission of guilt for the allegations directed against him.
The Church of Sweden has announced in a press release that Christopher Meakin has been recommended as a replacement for the disgraced dean.