A Roman Catholic priest has been found dead in western Germany just one day after he was questioned and suspended as part of an investigation into abuse allegations.
The Diocese of Limburg said in a statement that the body of the head of its seminary was found on Thursday.
Church officials did not reveal the cause of death but stated that the priest had held roles of responsibility within the diocese for several years.
The diocese said in a statement that the priest’s death “hits us hard, causes consternation and bewilderment, and raises many questions.”
“He had been heard in a personal interview on Wednesday regarding allegations of inappropriate behaviour, as required by the relevant church regulations,” the statement read.
“Bishop Georg Baetzing subsequently released him from all offices in order to be able to examine and clarify the accusations.”
The diocese added that its sympathy was with the priest’s family as well as “those who reported the allegations”.
Earlier this week, the Limburg diocese announced that a former priest had been convicted in a church trial of sexually abusing a minor over several years almost three decades ago.
The former clergyman was ordered to pay 10% of his income to a charitable organisation that helps victims of abuse.